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St Francis de SalesCatholic Junior School

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18/06/2018 - 19/06/2018: DT in Action!

D&T in Action - Understand and Use Mechanical Systems

Arriving home from Barcelona, our thrill-seekers were inspired by the impressive constructions and height of the rides and rollercoasters in Port Aventura - we wanted to make a mini Port Aventura in our classroom!


Firstly, we researched some of the rides at Port Aventura, looking closely at how the structures were made stronger by the addition of triangles to reinforce the tower's design.  We thought about the type of ride that we would like to construct as a prototype to explore how these mechanisms work together.  Next, we looked closely at how energy is transferred in these rides - considering gravity, potential energy and kinetic energy in how the rides move, spin and rock.


Then came our opportunity to use some existing construction materials to make models by following exploded diagrams as our instructions.  Through our construction phase, we learnt about the importance of using cams, gears and motors in order to transfer effectively throughout the ride - we built some of these cams with the individual pieces of K'NEX.


After our construction phase came our evaluation: we had a carousel to look at each others' build, analysing how the mechanisms worked and how we could iron out or fix any problems with the design.  We also extended this to our parents, who were really impressed with our feats of engineering!  Some parents gave advice on how we could fix some errors in our designs.


Our next step will be to use our existing knowledge to design and build our own models using our own choice of materials, using what we have learnt to apply it to our own design.