Submarine Lesson 5 - How do you launch a submarine with strong structures?

In this lesson students understand how machines like cranes help us move large and heavy loads.

Years: 3, 4, 5, 6

Duration: 60mins

Curriculum Objectives: 11

Subject: Science

Resource Overview

Submarine STEM 7-11 delivers a comprehensive scheme of work covering Materials, Forces and Living things and develops students’ ability to work scientifically. The unit is based on the exploratory submersible journeys undertaken as part of the XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey off Bermuda, the Sargasso Sea (between Bermuda and Canada) and off Canada’s east coast. Using exclusive galleries, videos and online 360 VR technology students are fully immersed in the deep ocean. Students will understand the scale and depth of the ocean, explore and investigate the creatures which inhabit this inhospitable environment and consider how forces and materials are integral to submersible design. Throughout the unit students plan, carry out and evaluate scientific investigations, culminating in an exciting DT challenge.

Thank you to EncounterEdu for allowing us to share this resource.

Resource Assets


How do you launch a submarine with strong structures? PowerPoint

Students are asked: how do you think we launch our submersibles? They must think about how to get a submarine from the surface vessel into the water, safely and accurately before designing and building a crane to launch and recover their submarine.


Designing a crane - Student sheet 5a

In pairs students plan and build a crane structure that will be capable of launching and recovering a model submarine.


Building a crane - Activity overview 5a

In this activity students construct a crane, which will go on to launch and recover their submersibles.


How do you launch a submarine with strong structures? - Teacher Guidance

Lesson steps and learning outcomes are made explicit in this guide.

Curriculum Objectives

  • Key Stage 2 (Age 7-11)
    • Key Stage 2 (Age 7-11)
      • Year 4 (Age 8-9)
        • Year 3 (Age 7-8)
          • Ask relevant questions and use different types of scientific enquiries to answer them
          • Use results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions
      • Year 6 (Age 10-11)
        • Year 5 (Age 9-10)
          • Plan different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
          • Record data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
          • Take measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  • Year 5 (Age 9-10)
    • Compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and response to magnets