Lesson 1: Automatas

The children are given a design brief to produce a mechanical shop display window. They work together to prepare (mark, cut, saw) the materials required for a functional automata frame.

Before the lesson

Download classroom resources

Learning objectives

  • To prepare (mark, cut, saw)  the materials required for the automata frame

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


  • Select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing], accurately

Technical knowledge

  • Understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Attention grabber

Main event


Pupils needing extra support: May require an example of each of the components and supports, to be pre-cut for an immediate comparison piece. Pair with a pupil working at greater depth or in small groups.


Pupils working at greater depth: Emphasise the need to work accurately, and offer their support to others. Work on the automata project independently. If they finish ahead of time, allocate them the role of workshop assistant.

Wrapping up

Assessing pupils' progression and understanding


Created by:
Vicki Risianova,  
Design & 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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