Strand:Energy and Forces

Lesson: How Machines Work


Aim: The children will be enabled to explore how objects move, how machines work. They will investigate how forces act on objects.

Materials Needed

Data Projector
CD Rom 'The Way Things Work 2.0' (DK. Multimedia - David Mc Cauly)
Look Around' Book - page 20
Pictures of Fridge, Television, Radio, Iron (any appliances used in the home)




I will begin with the children's own lives and remind them that we need energy for everything we do. Children are asked where this energy comes from. I will show the children a display of some simple machines/or pictures of machines, including toys, computer, television, radio, stapler etc.

We will discuss their uses and what makes them work, e.g. a kettle needs to be plugged in to provide electricity to make it work.

We will discuss how energy can make sound, and light. It can make things move, and make things hot or cold. Examples: Fridge, Television, Radio, Iron etc. We will talk about other important machines in the home and how they work. (They will observe pictures of these.)


Laptop and Data Projector are then set up and CD Rom 'The Way Things Work' inserted. Allow it to load and children watch/listen to introduction.

Then we will go to the 'Warehouse of Inventions'. Click on 'The Mammoth' to go further into this warehouse.

I will then get a child to click on a specific machine e.g. invention. If we click on the light switch a piece of text and more complex diagram will come up on screen. It will allow us to explore the scientific principles behind the machine. Simple machines to look at with class (on this CD) are:

(i) zips
(ii) clockwork
(iii) hot air balloon
(iv) wheels

Children will observe the machines and how they work. We will discuss the importance of these.

Conclusion/Follow Up Activities

To conclude the lesson children complete an activity in their 'Look Around' books - page 20. They will sort toys and machines, into groups, which are worked by batteries, electricity, pushed, and pulled.

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