Practical Activities for Engineering Fundamentals


Engineering Studies – P1 Fundamental Engineering – Practical Activities

This section contains classroom practical challenges that enhance the learning of engineering concepts. The challenges link to Engineering Studies outcome.

  • Force fundamentals
  • Simple machines
  • Material properties and structures
  • Material identification

Suggested short practical activities include:

  • Force Crane

Read forces developed in crane members when load is varied.


Force Systems


  • Hovercraft

Construct a simple hovercraft from a DVD disc and a balloon. Use it to demonstrate force systems and friction reduction.  Write an engineering report about the materials used. Identify the materials, research structure and properties, and develop procedures to demonstrate force and motion laws.

The sports cap is closed and glued into place on the CD over the hole.  Make sure the fit is tight so no air can escape around the cap.  Blow up the balloon and fit the opening of the balloon over the sports cap.  Place the hovercraft onto a flat clean surface and pop up the sports cap, keeping the balloon inflated and in place.  As air escapes from the balloon, it travels through the cap and out of the hole in the CD. As the hole is in the middle of the CD it allows the CD to sit balanced on a cushion of air. If the hovercraft is pushed as the balloon deflates, it should travel across the floor or worktop with little friction resistance.  The desk or floor needs to be as flat as possible for your hovercraft to glide smoothly over. Any dust or particles may bridge the gap between the surface and the CD, creating friction. The CD also needs to be clean and as smooth as possible. Unscratched CDs work best.

Hovercraft Activity

  • Gear Trains

Develop 2D layouts of various gear arrangements and experiment with the outcomes.

Laser cut cogs on a particleboard base/channel or purchased apparatus.


  • Pulleys


  • Crystal Packing

Use Styrofoam balls to construct FCC HCP and BCC structures.


Styrofoam        Magnetic option