Design & Technology | Physics | Science | KS3 | KS4

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain that pressure is a force applied on a certain area.
  2. Know that pressure in liquids acts in all directions.
  3. Know that liquids cannot be compressed.
  4. Know and use the equation to calculate pressure.
  5. Describe how Pascal’s Principle is used on the America’s Cup boat.

Lesson Description

This Physics and Design & Technology topic uses covers the relationship between force, area and pressure. Calculating force, area and pressure using the equation; calculating values in a hydraulic pressure system and describing the use of hydraulics on racing boats. Introduce the topic of mechanisms with the short film, discussing how levers, pulleys, gears and hydraulics are used to steer the boat. Test students’ knowledge with an engaging interactive quiz. Our differentiated worksheets reinforce learning objectives for this topic. The resources can be used either in sequence or flexibly as an introduction to a topic, or for a quick activity.

How do sails, hulls and grinders work to operate and control the boat? Find out about the different mechanisms used to get the best performance. Introduce the topic of mechanisms with a short starter film, discussing how levers, pulleys, gears and hydraulics are used to steer the boat. Differentiated worksheets reinforce learning objectives for this topic.

For immediate access to all of our free Key stage 3 and 4 STEM teaching resources.

2. Worksheet 1 Explore the application of hydraulics on INEOS TEAM UK’s America’s Cup boat. An introduction suggested for 11-14 year olds.
3. Worksheet 1 Answers Answers to Worksheet 1.
4. Worksheet 2 Force, pressure and area calculations. More advanced tasks suggested for 11-14 year olds.
5. Worksheet 2 Answers Answers to Worksheet 2.
6. Worksheet 3 Force, pressure and area calculations and explanations. Suggested for 14-16 year olds.
7. Worksheet 3 Answers Answers to Worksheet 3.
8. Practical Investigation Presentation Editable presentation for delivering a practical investigation supporting the Mechanisms topic.
9. Practical Investigation Teacher Guide Suggested outline for delivering the practical investigation supporting the Mechanisms topic.
10. Practical Lab Sheet Student guide to the construction of hydraulic arm as part of the Mechanisms topic.


KS3 NC Science – Physics
Energy changes and transfers.
Simple machines give bigger force but at the expense of smaller movement (and vice versa): product of force and displacement unchanged.
Moment as the turning effect of a force.
Forces: associated with deforming objects; stretching and squashing – springs; with rubbing and friction between surfaces, with pushing things out of the way; resistance to motion of air and water.
Measurements of stretch or compression as force is changed.
Force-extension linear relation.
Work done and energy changes on deformation.

KS3 NC D&T– Physics
Understand how more advanced mechanical systems used in their products enable changes in movement and force.


AQA D&T Systems and control
Motion: understand methods of changing the direction or distance of an output;
Mechanical systems: Candidates should understand how mechanical advantage can be gained using levers and gears.
Friction: Candidates should understand the application of friction and explain methods used to reduce friction.

OCR D&T Product design
Systems and structures: Natural and mechanical structures, simple mechanical and electrical systems.
Scientific principles: The importance of scientific principles in common products such as levers, and mechanisms on bicycles ; understanding how modern scientific principles and new materials have influenced the design of products.

KS3 Science
Understand the forces in devices and their relationship to work done and power.

KS3 Design & Technology
Learn about the properties and characteristics of mechanical components and apply this knowledge and understanding when designing and making products.

GCSE Physics
Demonstrate and apply knowledge and understanding of the concept of pressure qualitatively and select and use the relationship: force = pressure / area.

GCSE D&T, Systems and Control
Understand that mechanical systems transmit motion and convert types of motion.

Third level Science
Collaborate in investigations into the effects of gravity on objects and predict what might happen to their weight in different situations on Earth and in space.

Fourth level Science
Gain knowledge of how formulae may be used in the context of energy transfer and mechanical systems and apply them to solve problems, for example in engineering.

National 5 Physics
Use of an appropriate relationship to solve problems involving pressure, force and area.

KS3 Science & Technology
Incorporate control systems, such as mechanical, electronic or computer-based, in products and understand how these can be employed to achieve desired effects.


Design & Technology, Physics, Science

Key Stage

KS3, KS4

Resource For

Students, Teachers


Film, Practical Investigation, Teacher's notes, Worksheet


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