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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 0-29 mins
  • D&T
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

Aerodynamics in action

Examine how aerodynamics is used in everyday life

Have you ever wondered how aerodynamics are used in everyday life?

Through this fun and engaging activity, children will understand how aerodynamic and streamlined shapes are used in our day to day lives and the design, technology and engineering principles behind them.

Through this activity, aimed at secondary school children, students will learn about aerodynamic forces and aerodynamic design and how these design principles enhance speed and efficiency in a product. A brilliant engineering activity for kids.

Activity introduction

Students will start to understand the basic principles of aerodynamics by looking at familiar products that have been designed with ‘speed’ in mind and through identifying features common to these products.

Later, they could start to explore the requirements of aerodynamic design through testing simple shapes in a wind tunnel and through water. The activity focuses on students acquiring an understanding of aerodynamics through testing, experimenting, and developing.

This activity is designed to be taught through science and design and technology simultaneously, as a cross-curricular project. However, it can also be tackled independently from each subject.

What do the images have in common? Why have they been designed in that shape? Could they be split into themed groups?

As an extension students could be asked to consider the social/economic and technological benefits (and drawbacks) of each example. This will give some reasoning behind the development of the final design and illustrate how there are many different factors affecting the design.

What you will need

  • Skeleton Bob films (below)
  • Projector 
  • Whiteboard

The engineering context

Aerodynamics refers to the way air moves around things. Anything that moves through the air reacts to aerodynamics. Aerodynamics acts on aeroplanes, rockets, kites and even cars!

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity students will be able to identify areas where aerodynamics is used in real life and they will be able to describe the social/economic and technological effect of the work.

Download the free activity sheets 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 teachers’ notes, 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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