Energy systems


10. Write a How-to Book


Students review the purpose of a How-to-Book and reconstruct the steps they took to make a car. They then each write a book, “How to Make a Car.”

Advance Preparation

  • Copy the worksheet “How-to book for making a car”. (Download below)
  • Chart paper with the names and examples of the materials used


  • Students’ cars from Lesson 7
  • Examples of instruction sheets familiar to students, such as Lego Construction Guides (if available)


  1. How-to Books: Ask students if they have Legos™ or other construction toys. Ask:

    • When you open up a toy that you have to put together yourself, how do you know what to do?
    • Help students recall that there is usually an instruction sheet (or How-to-Book) that tells you what to do. Show students any examples you have.
    • How does a How-to-Book show you what to do?
      Develop the idea that it shows you how to make something in steps. Each step means adding something new. The How-to-Book shows you what it will look like after each step. Today we will be making How-to-Books showing how you made your cars.

  2. What steps did you take to make a car?
    Using their own cars as reminders, help students walk through the steps they followed when they made their cars. For example:

    • Tape the axles to the body.
    • Put two wheels on each axle.
    • Put a stop on the ends of the axles.

  3. How to Make a Car:
    Provide worksheets. Ask each student to write a How-to-Book showing how he or she made a car. Provide students with additional sheets as needed.

  4. Exchange and discuss:
    Collect all the student’s cars. Have students share their “how to book” with a partner.

    • Tell your partner how you think he or she built the car and what it looks like.
    • Tell your partner what is clear in the” how-to book” and what you don’t understand.

  5. Share:
    Give the student’s their original cars back. Have students share and compare with their partner. Ask students to discuss what issues came up.

  6. Edit:
    Have student’s edit their books based on issues that their partner had in reading/understanding them.

  7. Outcomes

    • Students review the meaning and purpose of How-to-Books.
    • Students recall the steps they took to make a car.
    • Students write How-to-Books that record a process they have invented themselves.