Mechanisms with a message

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Age 9-11 Years
First published 2007

In this project children learn to make a moving message operated by a cam mechanism. The choice of message depends upon the children identifying a user and purpose but it might be linked to other school learning or issues such as healthy eating or keeping the school tidy. They explore different types of movement through investigating mechanisms and learn to construct flat cam mechanisms with lever and slider followers. They learn how a simple cam can be used with a lever or a slider to control movement, and develop their designing skills by trying out ideas with materials to make a mock up before drawing a design and planning their making. This helps to develop skills in cutting, shaping and joining and by selecting tools and equipment to measure and cut accurately.

The resource contains three PowerPoint presentations looking at how to make a cam board with a lever and slider, and one with prompts and questions for children to inspire their designs and ensure they are appropriate for user and purpose. It also has a unit of work, a helpsheet showing how to make and the application of cams, including vocabulary, and some sheets of guidance with prompt questions on creating a cam driven model. Also include are a classroom display poster and article published in D&T Primary magazine giving a mini lesson plan and outline of the resource and how to use it.

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