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Spring Power

Target Audience

Key Stage 2
Sc4 Physical Processes Sc4 (Forces) Yr 5
Pupils should:

  • experience forces that make things begin to move, get faster or slow down”
  • “They might design and make products that use levers, pulleys and/or springs and explore their effects”


  • To enable children to understand that energy can be stored in a number of ways and can be put to useful purpose.

Download worksheet

What you need

  • Springs (easily obtainable in bulk through most LEA consortium suppliers)
  • dowel
  • small lath wood.
  • Metre measuring sticks.

What you do

· See video clip: “Spring Power” from website www.practicalprimaryscience.co.uk
Use the firing pin (see video for construction) to give the toy vehicle greater amounts of propulsion by increasing the stretch of the spring by 1cm intervals

Record the results on the recording sheet. Children should be given the opportunity to predict what will happen before each measurement is made and in that way they are encouraged to see potential patterns emerge in their investigation.

Group / Class organisation

  • Depending on the number of adult helpers and apparatus available split the class into threes/ fours for this activity.
  • If only one helper is available then the number of groups should be curtailed. Much will depend however on the age of the children and their previous experience of practical work.
  • Individual recording sheets should be given to all children

How it works

  • Springs have, when stretched, stored energy which can be released to create movement.
  • The intention of this practical work is to enable children to appreciate that energy can be stored and released to produce energy in terms of movement in many forms of appliances/equipment.

Preliminary Activity

  • Children should research into everyday applications where springs serve a useful purpose e.g. the garden gate, fishing scales etc

Follow up work

  • Find instances where other materials can be used to store energy e.g. the elastic band and then to challenge the children to design some piece of apparatus that can be powered by an elastic band to serve a useful purpose.

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