Engineering activities

The activities introduce engineering principles and examples of engineering challenges in real life. Activity sheets include resource lists, instructions, and information on where you can go for similar activities.

For teachers and activity organisers we have included curriculum links where possible, discussion topics and ideas for taking the activities further.

We've also put together an engineering activity challenge rating so you can tell how much preparation each engineering activity requires. Ratings can be found at the bottom left of each activity pack.

 

 

Cargo Drop 

Cargo Drop

These activities aim to introduce students, aged 11-14, to different sectors of engineering and the engineering principles involved. Each of the challenges are fun and hands-on and can be run easily in the classroom or in science clubs! 

Cargo Drop - This activity will help pupils to understand the principles of forces and motion as well as give them an appreciation of how to combine materials to protect an object or strengthen a structure.


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Heat Exchange

Heat Exchange

These activities aim to introduce students, aged 11-14, to different sectors of engineering and the engineering principles involved. Each of the challenges are fun and hands-on and can be run easily in the classroom or in science clubs!

Heat Exchange - Help pupils to understand the principles of heat exchange as well as give them an appreciation of using different materials to increase the success of harnessing the power of the sun.


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Bath Fizzies 

Bath Fizzies

These activities aim to introduce students, aged 11-14, to different sectors of engineering and the engineering principles involved. Each of the challenges are fun and hands-on and can be run easily in the classroom or in science clubs! 

Bath Fizzies - A great way to introduce students to chemical engineering.


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Making Waves

Making Waves - acoustic engineering and sound control

"You are working as an acoustic engineer for Sound Designs, a company who work with architects to make sure sound travels well, or can be controlled, in a new building. Your company has been given the task of designing a new school hall for Little Town Academy."

This activity will give students a better understanding of how sound is reflected and absorbed and how acoustic engineers work to give us a good experience of sound in buildings, vehicles, at festivals and more.

(This lesson was developed with the help of the Nuffield Foundation.)


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Clever Copters

Clever Copters - make a self-propelled helicopter

“You work for a roll-cage development facility, designing and building helicopter safety frameworks. In order to make these, factories make prototypes using materials that act in a similar way…”

This activity will help students to understand the principles of propulsion, friction and stabilisation, and will give them an appreciation of how weak materials may be reinforced in certain conditions.


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Snacktory Factory

Snacktory Factory - introducing automated engineering

“There’s a fantastic new employment opportunity going in the local chocolate factory. The job is lead process engineer – the pay is great, you get to eat all the chocolate you like and you get free dental insurance (which you’ll obviously need). They’re going to give the job to whoever can build the best chocolate bar assembly line…”

This activity will help students to understand the principle of automated engineering processes and will enable them to discuss the difference between bespoke production and mass production.


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Desert Island Drinks

Desert Island Drinks - an introduction to filtration

“Whilst on your way to a once-in-a-liftime holiday, the plane runs out of fuel and is forced to ditch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. You’re stranded on a desert island and it’s going to be a week until rescue arrives. The only fresh water on the island is a muddy pond so you’re going to have to become a water engineer if you’re going to last long enough to be rescued.”

This activity helps students to understand the principles of filtration, and enables them to discuss how the composition of different materials enables them to filter different particles.


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Beat the Flood

Beat the Flood - materials testing

"You are a structural engineer working for international development organisation, Practical Action. You are currently based on Watu Island, an area prone to flooding. Your job is to test materials and recommend which ones are most suitable for building flood-proof homes."

This activity will give students the opportunity to explore materials and their properties while learning about the important role engineers play in supporting international development.


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Easy as pie

Activity requires a little bit of planing and the materials are generally really easy to get hold of.

 

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Middle of the road

Activity requires some planning and preparation - you should try the activity yourself and think about how you'd manage it with a group of young people.

 

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Well worth the challenge

Activity requires forward planning and preparation - you should try the activity yourself as there are many things that may affect the activity working properly just like a real-life engineering challenge. This will also affect the way you would manage it with a group of young people.

 

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Practice makes perfect

Activity requires forward planning, preparation and several practice runs! Try the activity yourself as there are many things that may affect the activity working properly, just like a real-life engineering challenge. This will also affect the way you would manage it with a group of young people and may require a trial run with a small group so you know what to expect.