Lesson 1: Design a Ferris wheel

Children recap how wheels work, evaluate existing big wheels and create a design for their own fairground wheel.

Before the lesson

Download classroom resources

Learning objective

  • To explore wheel mechanisms and design a wheel

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Explore and evaluate a range of existing products
  • Generate, develop and communicate their ideas through talking, drawing, templates, mock-ups and, where appropriate, information and communication technology
  • Explore and use mechanisms in their products

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Attention grabber

Main event


Pupils needing extra support: May benefit from having cards that say ‘wheel’ and ‘axle’ as well as a diagram so they can match the label to the correct part (see Activity: Label a wheel).


Pupils working at greater depth: Should be encouraged to refer to the design of wheels when giving justifications, offering alternatives or solutions.

Wrapping up

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding


Created by:
Tom Turnham,  
Design & Technology specialist
Tom has been a teacher for seven years and, as Head of Upper School at The Belham Primary School, he has a keen interest in young people and good causes. For the past seventeen years he has volunteered with various…
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