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Mechanical Systems

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In Key Stage 1 children build upon their experiences from Early Years when creating products that have elements of movement. They design and make celebration cards that incorporate some kind of moving part. This could be a slider, a simple rotating lever using a pivot or a pop-up mechanism. They design their card for a particular celebration or festival and begin to understand that products in DT are designed and made for a particular purpose and often for a client.

Celebration Cards

In the Great Teddy Race children are introduced to the wheel and axle mechanism and learn how it used to create linear and rotational movement. They apply this knowledge to create a buggy for their favourite soft toy that is entered in the class Great Toy Race. When designing their buggy they are tasked with theming their buggy to match the size, shape and look of their soft toy.

Great Teddy Race

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In Lower Key Stage 2 children have the opportunity to extend their knowledge of mechanical systems and build upon their learning from Key Stage 1 when creating a mechanical book page. They consolidate and extend their knowledge of sliders and pop-up mechanisms and learn how to link levers together to create more complex moving parts when making a mechanical book page. This unit of work can be linked to learning in other areas of the curriculum. 

Mechanical Book Page

For the Rainforest Monsters project, children can extend their knowledge of mechanical systems when creating moving monster toys using simple pneumatic systems. They learn how air can be used to produce movement in simple toys and extend their understanding of how theming can be used to create a product that is authentic.

Rainforest Monsters

 

For the Shadow Puppets project,  children apply their knowledge and understanding of levers and linkages to create shadow puppets that they use to perform and film a short play linked to the wider curriculum. They learn how different mechanisms can be used to create movable puppets as well as creating their own shadow puppet theatre. 

Shadow Puppets

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In Upper Key Stage 2 children extend their knowledge of mechanical systems further when learning about cams. They investigate how cams are used to change the direction of movement and how this system can be used to create automaton toys. This unit also provides opportunities for children to consolidate their knowledge and understanding of structures and techniques to make structures stronger and stiffer. The automaton toy can be themed and linked to other areas of the curriculum. 

Automaton Toy

When designing and making fairground rides in Upper Key Stage 2 children have the opportunity to study how simple pulley systems (a belt and drive mechanism) can be incorporated in to product to create a toy model. Children make a simple pulley system and then apply this learnt knowledge to create a model of a fairground ride. This unit can be extended to incorporate motors and a microcontroller so that children understand how products can be controlled using program systems.

Fairground Ride

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