Age range: 11-14
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • D&T
  • Engineering
  • Physics

Material design for robots

Choosing materials for robots based on material properties and environmental hazards

The ESA ExoMars programme is a topical use of engineering strategies in robotics and mechanical design. Students are presented with an unusual landscape and environment to investigate and are challenged to choose appropriate materials for those specific environment’s conditions.

Activity info, teachers' notes and curriculum links

An engaging activity in which students must investigate the relevant environmental hazards and difficulties within the landscape, as well as the functions of the robot. They then propose materials for the construction of their robot which will function in that environment and justify choices.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

You can find more information about Circuit Building over on the Royal Institution website

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All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students' and your schools' needs.

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Activity overview

Material design for robots activity description, teachers' notes and curriculum links.



A variety of landscapes that robots could be programmed to travel across.



Suggested topics to focus your investigation for your chosen environment.

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