In this lesson, the children will learn about how gears work.

0-30 min
Reception-Year 1

The science behind the play (notes for teachers)

Gears are a rotating part of a machine. Gears have teeth that can interlock with another gear. The design of gears makes them able to transfer torque or the force that causes the rotation.


(5-10 Minutes)

Ask the children to find all of the elements that spin and then explain that spinning parts can be useful.

Tell the children gears are parts of a machine that are used to make other parts turn.

Have the children demonstrate how the spinning elements work and then ask them to arrange the gears in a row so that when one of the gears moves, all of the gears move.

Consider asking questions like:

  • Which way do the gears turn?
  • What happens when you interlock a large gear with a small gear?
  • What happens when you interlock two gears of the same size?

Tell the children that you are going to read the beginning of a story about a group of people who are preparing the STEAM Park for its daily visitors. You can show them the inspiration photo or use the figures to act out the scene.


Read the following story aloud:

'We need a new gate to make the park look nice and to control how many people can enter the park at one time', said Parker, the park manager.

'I have some large gears in my garage. My dad brought them home from his factory and gave them to me. We could use them to build a new gate', Teresa said.

'That's a brilliant idea! I also have some bricks and other pieces that we could use', Parker said.

Interlocking gears in different ways causes them to move slower or faster and to turn clockwise or anticlockwise.


(5-10 Minutes)

Show the children the inspiration photo for the Connect phase of the lesson and ask them to identify which parts of the models move.

Ask them to build their own models of gates that can open and close.


(2-5 Minutes)

Ask the children to test their gates and to make any necessary improvements.

Consider asking questions like:

  • How does your gate open and close?
  • Can a figure fit through the opening?


(5-10 Minutes)

Ask the children to create a double gate that opens from both the left and the right so that both sides can be opened at the same time in order to allow more people to move through at one time.

Did you notice?

Observing the following skills can help you to monitor whether the children are developing the necessary competencies in science, technology, engineering, art and maths.

  • Using technology such as simple gears and wheels in appropriate ways
  • Asking questions about concepts relating to science and technology
  • Experimenting/testing 'what would happen if' questions
  • Observing and describing what happens

Teacher Support

The children will:

  • Interlock gears
  • Make the gears turn

STEAM Park set (45024)