Start of main content
Age Range: 7-11
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • D & T
  • Engineering

Marine engineering

Learn about marine engineering and build a model of a sail boat

In this fun STEM activity for kids, students will use the theme of significant turning points in British history, specifically their achievements in marine engineering, to make a model of a sail boat from craft sticks. They will then test their model in water to see if it floats.

This resource is aimed at primary school children and will allow learners to develop their knowledge and skills in design and technology and engineering.

Activity: Marine engineering

As an island nation the United Kingdom has a huge history and tradition in the field of marine engineering. This includes building sailing shops like HMS Victory, famously commanded by Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Can you make a working model of a sailboat? Our free resource will show you how!

What you will need

  • PVA glue
  • Glue spreader
  • Craft sticks
  • Highlighter pens or paints
  • Material for the sail e.g. paper or card

The engineering context

Marine engineering is the engineering of marine vessels such as boats, ships, and submarines. Marine engineers design, build and repair these vessels. Marine engineers are extremely important as ships are vital both commercially and militarily.

The United Kingdom has a huge maritime and marine engineering tradition. As an island nation the importance of naval power remains to this day. There are a wide range of career opportunities in the marine engineering sector including materials, design, manufacturing, mechanical and electronic engineers.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity students will be able to make a sailboat using craft sticks, they will be able to test their sailboat to check how well it works and they will be able to understand the marine engineering history of the United Kingdom.

The HMS Victory

The HMS Victory is the most famous ship in Britain’s naval history due to her role as Admiral Nelson’s flagship in his victory at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.

The Battle of Trafalgar was a major sea battle between Britain and the navies of France and Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. The battle took place at the Cape of Trafalgar in the Atlantic Ocean. The victory in this battle brought to light the naval power of the United Kingdom.

Today, the HMS Victory has undergone a lot of restoration and lays in Portsmouth Dockyard where it is open to the public as a tourist attraction.

Download the free activity sheet below!

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

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

Please share your classroom learning highlights with us @IETeducation.

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