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Age Range: 5-7
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • D & T

How to make a grabber

Learn about linkages and make a grabber out of card in this free STEM activity.

In this fun activity, students will learn how to make a grabber device from card.

A mechanism is a device that changes movement in some way. Linkages are a type of mechanism that consists of a series of rigid links connected by joints. The links can be moved relative to each other, and the way in which they are connected determines how the movement of one link affects the movement of the others.

Activity: How to make a grabber

First, introduce the activity by showing the presentation and explaining how to make the grabber. A step-by-step guide can be found in the activity sheet below.

The teacher can then demonstrate how the grabber works by picking up a small object, such as a pencil or a piece of paper.

Pupils will make the grabber from card, using the handout.

Using a hole punch to create the holes where needed is helpful as it reduces the risk of tearing. Alternatively, you can push through the card with a sharp pencil into a piece of modelling clay.

If tearing does occur, you can address this by using sticky tape on the rear of the part or background.

The presentation associated with this activity includes detailed images for the making/assembling tasks, plus additional support information for the teacher, such as an example of an extension project made by a pupil.


The thicker the card, the more effectively the grabber will operate. However, this can present challenges for cutting. If pupils have adequate maturity, it may be worth considering using either heavy-duty scissors or the use of craft knives.

Be sure to supervise pupils closely when they are using scissors or craft knives.

Encourage pupils to be creative and experiment with different designs.

How long will this activity take to complete?

This activity will take about an hour to complete. Teachers can download the activity sheet below for a detailed lesson plan.

The engineering context

A mechanism is a system of interconnected parts that transmit force and motion to achieve a desired outcome. Mechanisms are found in many everyday objects, from scissors to pop-up books to car engines.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will be able to describe how simple linkages change motion, and they will be able to cut and assemble a product made from linkages.

Download the free activity sheet below!

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable so that you can tailor them to your students and your schools' needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, helpful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in the four devolved UK nations: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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