Lesson 1: Exploring pneumatics

In this practical lesson, children investigate and explore different pneumatic systems

Before the lesson

Download classroom resources

Learning objectives

  • To understand how pneumatic systems work

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, aimed at particular individuals or groups
  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design
  • Understand and use mechanical systems in their products, for example, gears, pulleys, cams, levers and linkages

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Attention grabber

Main event


Pupils needing extra support: Might need to see the experiments repeated or have the equipment set up in front of them.


Pupils working at greater depth: Should draw, label and explain in greater depth and provide examples of products that use pneumatic systems.

Wrapping up

Assessing pupils' progression and understanding


Created by:
Vicki Risianova,  
Design and Technology specialist
After 4 years of being a TV and radio presenter, Vicki headed to the secondary classroom where she spent 12 years teaching Design and Technology as well as PE. Working as a subject leader, she ran D&T tournaments and weekly…
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