Lesson 2: Designing a pneumatic toy

The children use their understanding of pneumatics to design their own pneumatics toys through thumbnail sketches and exploded diagrams

Before the lesson

Download classroom resources

Learning objectives

  • To design a toy that uses a pneumatic system

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
  • Evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work
  • 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: Utilise the examples, and/or edition two of the Activity: Pneumatic toy design sheet. They should be encouraged to keep their ideas simple so that they can focus on creating a high-quality end product. Remove the time constraint suggestions on thumbnail sketches.


Pupils working at greater depth: Should be challenged to draw with detail and accuracy, labelling the parts and materials in their design.

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…
Find out more