Balance & Motion
Students set up cardboard ramps down which they will roll wheel–and-axle systems. They insert slim white straws into plastic disks to make the wheel–and-axle systems. They try all kinds of configurations of wheel size and axle position to get their rolling wheel–and-axle systems to perform a variety of tricks.
Systems Approach: Identify the parts of a system, how the parts go together, and how they depend on each other. (ST01, STI02, STI03, & STI04)
Wheels roll down a slope.
A slope is a surface that is higher on one end than on the other end.
Axles support wheels.
Wheel-and-axle systems, using wheels of different sizes, roll toward the smaller wheel.
2 Large Plastic Disks
2 Small Plastic Disks
1 Slim Straw
For each pair of students:
1 Cardboard Ramp
4 Clothes Pins
Pair up students and have them work on the floor.
Caution students to be careful with the ramps. If students lean on the ramp, the ramp will crumple.
Do not allow students to increase the ramp slope.
This lesson can be done over two days, because students enjoy the exploration.
Keep extra clothespins handy, because they can easily fall apart.
Keep extra straws handy.
Have students draw their wheel–and-axle systems in their science notebooks, and answer the following question below their drawings, “How can a wheel–and-axle system be changed?”
None for this lesson.