The Tin Snail - Forces / Engineering

The Tin Snail by Cameron McAllister provides a context for learning about forces, in particular friction and air resistance. This story is set in France in 1938 and follows Angelo who needs to invent a new car in order to save his dad’s job.  The car  needs to carry:a farmer, his wife, two chickens, a flagon of wine and a dozen eggs across a bumpy field without breaking a single egg. All of this without the enemy discovering his top-secret design. Angelo struggles to make his ideas work, showing how resilience, resourcefulness and creativity can result in amazing things. This book provides a great backdrop for discussing the process that inventors and engineers work through when they are making something new. It is also a great setting for exploring:

  • the effects of air resistance  and friction
  •  mechanisms, including levers, pulleys and gears

Key scientific vocabulary: Earth, gravity,air resistance,friction,moving surface, mechanisms, springs, levers,pulleys,gears,energy transfer, aerodynamic

Other fiction books with a similar theme:

Leonardo’s Dream _ Hans de Beer