Designing and making moving vehicles in Year 1

At the beginning of our Design Technology lessons, the children were given the opportunity to explore a range of wheeled objects and tried to work out how each object moved. As the children investigated, they were asked to think about the following key questions:

  • How do you think the wheels move?
  • How do you think the wheels are fixed on?
  • Why do you think the product has the number of wheels it does?
  • Why do you think the wheels are round?

The children learnt that wheels and axles joined together and are able to turn but the axle holder is fixed to the body of the object. Together they reinvestigated the wheeled objects to identify the moving and non-moving parts of the object. They were then asked to draw a diagram of the wheeled object, identifying the wheel, axle, and axle holder.

I wonder how you can attach a moving part to a non-moving part…

The children were provided with straws, paper, scissors, glue, masking tape. They were then asked to create a wheel, axle and axle holder using the materials provided. The children experimented with the different ways that they could attach the moving part (wheel and axle) to the non-moving part (axle and chassis) remembering to ensure that the wheels were able to move.

The children were shown a range of vehicles that the designer had built incorrectly and were unable to move. The children discussed where they believed the designer went wrong and how they could fix the problem to ensure that the wheel and axle’s move.

They were then asked to design their own moving vehicle using their understanding of wheels and axles. A design criteria was shared with the children, showing what their design had to include.

Once they had completed their designs, the children were asked to select the correct materials and tools they needed to make their moving vehicles. They did a great job and showed great resilience and perseverance throughout the making process.