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Mighty Mills

Y4, Y5, Y6

Come and visit inner London's only surviving windmill. Learn about how windmills work, the inventors and engineers behind these remarkable buildings, and how people used them in the past. Come to this workshop and find out about the differences between post, tower and smock mills; and learn about Lambeth’s twelve windmills. Pupils will have an opportunity to invent their own wind-powered machine.


Tour of the windmill (up to the first floor; with smaller groups going to the upper floors)
Recite proverbs about windmills and milling
Creative activity: to make a moving windmill

Level: KS2: Y4, Y5 and Y6

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: £60 (Lambeth schools); £120 (non-Lambeth schools)

National Curriculum links: Science, Design and Technology and  History

Learning objectives

Pupils will:

  • Enhance their knowledge and understanding of the windmill mechanism: including how wind energy is transferred via a series of cogs to the millstones
  • Learn simple proverbs like ‘The mill is never silent while the damsel sings her song’, ‘Where there’s a mill, there’s a way’ or ‘Keep your nose to the grindstone’ and ‘Show me your mettle’.
  • Learn about controlling movement with a simple gear mechanism. They will develop their design skills by using information sources to generate ideas and formulate an understanding of how cog mechanisms can be used to produce movement.
  • Extend their making skills by developing techniques in cutting, shaping and joining to combine components. Through these activities they will gain an understanding of the working characteristics of the materials and components and how they can be combined to create more useful properties. They will consider both functional and decorative attributes to their finished wind-powered machine.
  • Extend their range of vocabulary: windmill, millwright, engineer, wind-powered, brake wheel, spur wheel, wallower, gear wheel, spur gear, revolutions per minute, torque, main shaft, common sail, patent sail, cap, tower mill, post mill, smock mill, damsel, bed stone, running stone, stone nut, centrifugal governor, quant and shoe
  • Develop speaking, listening and presenting skills

‘Where there's a mill, there's a way’