The Story of
the Automaton

Putting It In Motion...

For Teachers

For Students

For Reference

Off-Line Activities

 indicates an activity is available for download in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format. You will need to have the free Acrobat Reader (available for download here) installed.


"Zen and the Art of Cardboard Engineering " - Free Model
A zany free cardboard model provided by Rob Ives on his "Flying Pig" website. Constructing the cardboard model will help you understand the workings of the
crank and the cam.
Print out the model and follow the instructions.


"Which Came First"
Free Model

Another free to download model for you to try from Rob Ives. Instead of the staid model of pecking hen with egg shaped cam this model features a pecking egg with hen shaped cam - strange? Maybe. But fun none the less. Includes full instructions
and the parts to make the model.


"Cupid" - Free Model
Another cardboard automata model from "The Flying Pig" for you to make!
Download the PDF file, print out the parts and make this delightful Cupid for your one true love. You'll need a couple of pieces of white card, and a few basic tools, scissors, glue etc.


"Ho Ho Help!"
You can use everyday items to construct a system of levers and a crankshaft to make a model of Santa stuck in a chimney with his legs wiggling in the air. To make the model you'll need a bamboo skewer, four straws, red crepe paper, black cardboard, cotton wool, glue, a few sheets of thick paper and a large paper clip or piece of stiff wire.

"Balloon Powered Boat"
Turn a margarine container into a balloon-powered jet boat.This is an example of Newton's Third Law of Motion - every action has an opposite and equal reaction.
"Satellite Motion"
Newton's First Law of Motion states that any object will stay still, or will continue to move in a perfectly straight line without changing its speed unless a force makes it change. Use a balloon and some coins to demonstrate this law.
"Button Yo-Yo "
Build your own yo-yo with buttons and thread to study the ups and downs of motion!
"Build Newton's Cradle"
Use a shoebox, beads, string and other simple supplies to create a version of the popular toy named after Sir Isaac Newton.

"Shoebox Whirligig"
Experiment with motion by building whirligig prototypes
using shoeboxes and coat hangers. Collect materials from
around your home or classroom and design your own.