Give children corrugated card levers and split pins and ask them to design a scissor mechanism to represent ‘something which rises or jumps’. I used this originally to link with our Year 3 language project based on ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ to represent Grandma rising in her chair. Later I gave an open brief to a year 4 class, and they came up with some very inventive ideas, including this example of a girl on a trampoline.
The lesson is really effective for assessing who can assemble mechanisms, and children really can show you what they are made of in terms of design capability and artistic flair.
The levers themselves can be decorated with artwork or language to link with any project.