Start of main content
Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • D&T
  • Engineering

Graphics project

Make an animal that moves and learn about simple mechanisms in this fun graphics project

Learn about simple mechanisms and make an amazing animal that moves in this fun graphics project for secondary school students.

This activity is part of a series of STEM resources designed to allow learners to develop their knowledge and skills in Design & Technology and Engineering. This resource focuses on making an engaging graphic product that uses a simple mechanism to facilitate movement.

Activity: Make a moving animal in this graphics project

During this activity, students will explore the application of simple mechanisms such as cams and linkages within a graphics product. Downloadable templates have been provided to assist learners in cutting out the necessary parts for constructing an amazing cardboard animal. This hands-on experience allows learners to engage with the concepts of mechanisms and gain practical skills in creating and assembling an animal model. By utilising templates, participants can ensure accurate and precise cuts, facilitating the successful completion of the project. This activity allows learners to combine creativity with mechanical principles engagingly and educationally.

Students will make the parts of a simple mechanism using cams and linkages, which will be attached to a round shaft made from a skewer. This arrangement enables the animal’s legs to move up and down slowly.

This activity serves as an excellent main lesson to educate learners on the concept of simple mechanisms and the transformation of rotary motion into reciprocating motion. Alternatively, this activity can be used as part of a wider group of resources that use the Christmas theme to build knowledge and skills in Design & Technology and Engineering. By incorporating these elements, learners can engage in a festive and educational exploration of these subjects.

How long will this activity take to complete?

This activity will take approximately 60-90 minutes to complete.

The engineering context

Engineers use mechanisms in almost every moving product, from trains and cars to washing machines, see-saws and scissors. They either transmit or change motion, increasing or decreasing its strength, quantity or type.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will be able to understand that a linkage and cam can create movement, they will be able to make a fantastic animal from graphics materials, and they will be able to use cams and linkages to make the legs move on the animal.

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.

And please share your amazing animals with us @IETeducation! #SantaLovesSTEM

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