Design and Technology (D&T) KS2: Axles

This short film explains what an axle is and how they are essential in all vehicles, from bicycles to trains.

It illustrates how balloon-powered cars work, which is a perfect classroom project.

Teacher Notes

This short film is an ideal introduction to the essential features of a vehicle and how these are designed and tailored for different types of vehicles.

The film investigates why some vehicles require strong, heavy axles, while other vehicles require a lightweight axle.

It could be used as part of a design and technology investigation into making a fast car.

It could also be used to help the pupils to understand the main features of a vehicle and their functions, possibly as a pre-cursor to designing and making their own vehicle.

Points for discussion:

  • What features are common to all vehicles?
  • What is an axle?
  • Why are axles important?
  • How are axles changed for different types of vehicles?

Suggested activities:
After watching the film, you could work with pupils to explore the different parts of a vehicle and what function each one serves.

Pupils could investigate different axles and how changing the weight and size of the axle impacts on how well a vehicle moves.

Pupils could design and make their own balloon cars, and compete with each other to find out which one is fastest, and why.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching design and technology (D&T) at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 1st and 2nd level in Scotland.

More from this series:

How to make a structure stronger
How to make a structure waterproof