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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • D&T
  • Engineering

Super sleigh alternative

Designing a high-tech, environmentally friendly replacement for Santa’s sleigh

In this innovative activity, we invite you to unleash your creativity and engineering prowess to envision a cutting-edge alternative to Santa’s traditional sleigh. As we embrace a more sustainable future, it’s time to revolutionise Santa’s mode of transportation. Your mission is to design a sleek, high-tech marvel that delivers gifts with unrivalled speed and efficiency and prioritises the environment.

Join us on this eco-friendly adventure, where imagination meets sustainability, and help shape the future of Santa’s deliveries for generations to come. Let your ingenuity soar as we embark on this exciting quest to create a sleigh that perfectly harmonises technology and environmental consciousness.

Activity: Design an environmentally friendly sleigh for Santa

This activity is one of a series of free STEM resources designed to allow learners to use Christmas themes to develop their knowledge and skills in Design & Technology, and Engineering.

Learners will design a high-tech, environmentally friendly replacement for Santa’s sleigh. The sleigh will use a sustainable method of allowing it to fly through the air to deliver the presents.

This resource could be used as a one-off lesson activity to build knowledge and understanding of environmental issues and sustainability. Alternatively, it could 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.

The history behind Santa’s sleigh

The history of Santa’s sleigh is deeply rooted in folklore and mythology. The concept of Santa Claus flying through the sky in a sleigh can be traced back to various influences. One prominent source is the legendary figure of Saint Nicholas, known for his generosity and gift-giving. Over time, the idea of Santa Claus evolved, merging with elements of Norse mythology, specifically the god Odin, who was often depicted riding through the sky on an eight-legged horse. The image of Santa’s sleigh being pulled by reindeer gained popularity through the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas”). Since then, Santa’s sleigh has become an enduring symbol of Christmas magic and wonder.

Carbon emissions cause global warming and are bad for the environment. Can you help Santa develop an environmentally friendly replacement for his famous sleigh?

The engineering context

Ensuring sustainability and environmental issues are considered in the design of products is an important part of the new GCSE courses in Design & Technology and Engineering.

The knowledge gained can also be used when using environmentally friendly techniques to support the design of future products and systems.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will be able to design an environmentally friendly alternative for Santa’s sleigh, they will be able to understand the impact of carbon emissions on the environment, and they will be able to communicate design ideas using sketches, notes and annotations.

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.

Oh ho ho, please share your classroom learning highlights with us @IETeducation! #SantaLovesSTEM

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