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Simple Machines
Lab 4 - Gears

Teacher Portal


Launch the Engage Section

ACTS is what the teacher will do and ASKS is how the teacher will facilitate.

  1. Show students two gears of the same size meshing. (An example video can be found in the Lab 4 Slideshow and in the Teacher Facilitation section.)
  2. Introduce and define gears
  3. Introduce and define meshing. Use two gear pieces from the VEX GO kit to show two gears meshing. 
  4. Show an example of the Clock build to the class. Have students make predictions. These predictions can be recorded on a whiteboard, a sheet of scrap paper, or just by a show of hands.
  5. Introduce students to the connection between gears and work.
  1. What do they notice about the gears and how they move? Have you ever seen gears before? 
  2. Gears are a wheel with teeth used to transfer or receive force. How does one gear move another? Encourage students to talk about the teeth of the gears and how they are connected. 
  3. Meshing is when two or more gears are connected with their teeth. 
  4. How many gears do they think will need to be meshed together to build the Clock? Have students make a prediction.
  5. How can gears help us do work? How many gears do you think will be needed to make our Clock do work?

Getting the Students Ready to Build

How can gears help us do work? Your group is going to build your own Clock to investigate how gears interact and make work easier.

Facilitate the Build

  1. InstructInstruct students to join their team, and have them complete the Robotics Roles & Routines sheet. Use the Suggested Role Responsibilities slide in the Lab Image Slideshow as a guide for students to complete this sheet.
  2. DistributeDistribute build instructions to each team.  Journalists should gather the materials on the checklist.
  3. FacilitateFacilitate building process.
    1. Builders can begin building. If there are multiple builders, they should alternate steps to complete the build.  
    2. Journalists should assist with build instructions as needed and document all Lab results.

    Clock Build
    Clock Build

  4. OfferOffer suggestions and note positive team building and problem solving strategies as teams build together.
A VEX GO character

Teacher Troubleshooting

Facilitation Strategies

  • Student “Help Desk” - if groups are having trouble with the build, they can ask other groups for support.  If one group finds a trick or a helpful hint, encourage them to share it with the class. 
  • If students become confused on how gears move or work together, show the below video to reference how gears move and mesh together. The video can be found in the Lab 4 Slideshow.
Video file
  • Use the Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! PDF Book and Teacher’s Guide - If students are new to VEX GO, read the PDF book and use the prompts in the Teacher’s Guide to facilitate an introduction to building and using VEX GO before beginning the Lab activities. Students can join their groups and gather their VEX GO Kits, and follow along with the building activity within the book as you read.