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20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years Science Clips
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Ages 5 - 6 Ages 6 - 7 Ages 7 - 8
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Science topics ages 5 - 6
Pushes and pulls

Curriculum relevance | Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity

Offline lesson plan


Communicate changes in movement that result from actions

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 1, Science, Sc1 1, 2a, 2b, 2c, 2f, 2g, 2h, 2i, 2j; Sc4 2a, 2b, 2c

Wales: Key Stage 1, Physical processes, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 1, Physical processes, Forces and energy, a, b, c

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, Forces and their effects, Level A

Resources required

A range of construction toys e.g. lego, mobilo, mechano

Junk modelling equipment including wheels

Pictures of vehicles


Plastic or strong cardboard to make a small ramp

Books or bricks to prop the ramp

Teaching activities

Ask the whole class to sit on the carpet. Show the children pictures or models of various real and toy vehicles including cars, buses, bicycles, pull along toys. Discuss how they move. Make it clear that although real vehicles have motors, we can make toys move by pushing and pulling.

Explain to the children that you want them to make a wheeled vehicle and then find a way to make it move using the resources on the table.

Each table has one form of construction material or junk modelling equipment, resources for making a ramp and some string. Children work in mixed ability pairs with three pairs at each table.

Explain to the children that they need to decide with their partner what they are going to make, and how they are going to make it move. This can be recorded pictorially with labels if desired. Try to encourage pairs on any one table to come up with different ways of moving.

The teacher (and any additional adults) can then walk around the groups asking questions. What have you decided to make? How will you make it move? Prompt them to be specific with their answers to draw out the reasons for their choices. Will you use your hands to pull your vehicle, or will you pull it with a string? Why have you decided to push your car on the ramp?

Have the whole class seated in a circle. Ask pairs of children to feed back orally and by demonstration to the class how their vehicle moves, and why they decided to use that force. Summarise after each demonstration saying, "the force they used was..." or "what action made that vehicle move?"


Discuss ways to make the vehicle move faster or further, e.g. pushing/pulling harder, putting it on a ramp, making the ramp steeper etc. Children can experiment independently or in pairs.

Suggested homework

Ask children to look at their toys at home, find a favourite toy and draw or describe how they make it move, e.g. push it, pull it, wind it up, plug it in and switch it on


Resources for teachers

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