Overview: Course

The specification for junior cycle Wood Technology focuses on developing students’ understanding of, and skills in, the applications and impact of using wood as a resource in the world around them. This will be achieved through three interconnected contextual strands: Principles and practices, Design thinking and Wood science and materials.

Strand 1: Principles and practices  

In this strand, students learn about and employ the fundamental principles and practices associated with the study of Wood Technology. They learn to work safely and efficiently with equipment and materials, and apply principles of craft excellence through design and manufacture. They will investigate the environmental benefits and impacts of using wood as a natural and renewable resource and learn about sustainable practice.

Strand 2: Design thinking  

In this strand, students explore design briefs and their solutions. They use key principles of design and produce sketches, drawings, models/prototypes and artefacts that illustrate their design thinking. Students consider factors such as materials, cost, time resources and skills to produce purposeful, functional, appealing artefacts. They also consider the environmental and social impacts of design decisions and investigate how to minimise material use and manage waste.

Strand 3: Wood science and materials  

In this strand, students explore the natural and physical properties and characteristics of wood. They learn how to use the natural aesthetics and properties of wood to enhance the appearance and function of artefacts. They explore the role of forestation and wood in terms of local/global ecology and sustainability and recognise the importance of considering the impact on the natural environment when sourcing materials.

Throughout each of the strands, the use of four elements: Planning and managing, Communicating, Creating, and Environment and sustainability creates a framework for learning that ensures a coherent learning experience for the students.

Element 1: Planning and managing  

The learning outcomes in this element encourage students to develop a range of project management skills while evolving their designs to the creation stage. Students develop the necessary knowledge and skills that will enable them to effectively solve contextual problems.

Element 2: Communicating  

The learning outcomes in this element encourage students to select and use appropriate media to communicate design ideas and technical information. Students will use technical language associated with wood science and technology. They learn about the important role that communication plays in addressing global and local environmental issues. Students will plan and narrate their design evolution highlighting critical features of their solutions to design problems.

Element 3: Creating  

The learning outcomes in this element encourage students to be creative and to explore ways in which they can apply their knowledge and skills and appreciate the practices needed to produce purposeful, functional, appealing artefacts. Students develop their creativity across the three strands and use the natural aesthetics and properties of wood to enhance the appearance and function of their artefacts.

Element 4: Environment and sustainability  

The learning outcomes in this element encourage students to appreciate the environmental benefits and impacts of using wood as a natural and renewable resource, and to use sustainable practice throughout their learning. Students explore the role of forestation and wood in terms of global and local ecology and sustainability.


Wood Technology uses an interdisciplinary approach which encourages the integration of the three strands in the teaching and learning of the subject. It has been designed for a minimum of 200 hours of timetabled student engagement across the three years of junior cycle.

This specification aims to strike a balance between exploring the breadth of possibilities the study of the subject presents and providing opportunities for in-depth experiences of particular areas as appropriate. To this end, the specification allows for a certain amount of flexibility and freedom for teachers to facilitate learning in a way that reflects students’ own choices, their curiosity and their creativity. The achievement of learning outcomes should be planned in a way that is active and stimulating.