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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • D&T

Vacuum forming project for KS3

Using vacuum forming to make chocolate egg moulds

In this Easter STEM project students will learn about the vacuum forming process and its applications. They will learn how to use a vacuum forming machine to produce a mould that they can then use to cast a handmade chocolate Easter egg.

This challenge is aimed at secondary school students and could be used as a main lesson activity to teach learners about the use of vacuum forming, or as part of a wider scheme of learning covering either manufacturing processes and techniques or the integration of different disciplines within Design and Technology.

Activity: Use vacuum forming to make chocolate egg moulds

This is one of a set of free STEM resources designed to allow learners to use Easter themes to develop their knowledge and skills in Design and Technology, Science and Mathematics. This resource focuses on using the vacuum forming process to create a mould for a chocolate Easter egg.

Please note that this activity requires access to a workshop for vacuum forming and appropriate facilities for hygienic food preparation, such as a food technology room.

In many school workshops there will only be one or two vacuum forming machines available for use. In this instance learners will need to take turns in using this equipment. They could be split into small groups to make this process less time consuming.

This is a fun and engaging Easter STEM challenge and will take approximately 50-80 minutes to complete.

Chocolate Easter Eggs

Although chocolate was introduced to Europe in 1502, it was initially just made into drinks, like cocoa. Chocolate Easter eggs were first made in France and Germany in the 19th Century. The first chocolate egg in the UK was made in 1873 by J S Fry and Sons Limited. One of the challenges with making these eggs was to form their shape.

Tools/resources required

  • Half egg-shaped former
  • Suitable material for forming, such as high-impact polystyrene (HIP)
  • Vacuum forming machine
  • Stanley knife or other cutting tool suitable for trimming the edges of the formed plastic mould
  • Chocolate for melting (either cooking chocolate or milk chocolate bars work well)

The engineering context

Engineers use vacuum forming for manufacturing a wide range of products, such as storage containers, children’s toys, baths, and food packaging.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this exercise, students will have an understanding of the main stages of the vacuum forming process. They will also be able to use the vacuum-forming process to create a mould for a chocolate Easter egg. Lastly, they will be able to cast a chocolate Easter Egg from a vacuum-formed model.

Download the free use vacuum forming to make chocolate egg moulds 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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