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Simple Machines
Unit Pacing Guide

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Pacing Guide

This unit should be implemented to supplement student learning on the concepts of Force and Motion.

STEM Labs can be adapted in various ways to fit into any classroom or learning environment. Each STEM Lab includes the following 3 sections: Engage, Play, and Share (optional).

Each STEM Lab in this unit can be completed in as little as 40 minutes

Section Summary

The Engage and Play sections, which contain the primary learning activities, can be completed within 40 minutes. The Share section, which enables students to express their learning is optional, but estimated at around 3-5 minutes per group.

Click on the tabs below to view descriptions of the Engage, Play and Share sections of the STEM Lab.

The Pacing Guide

The pacing guide for each Lab provides step-by-step instructions on What, How, and When to teach. The STEM Lab Pacing Guide previews the concepts that are taught in each section (Engage, Play, and Share (optional)), explains how the section is delivered, and identifies all the materials that are needed.

Making This Unit Fit Your Unique Classroom Needs

Not every classroom is the same, and teachers face a variety of implementation challenges throughout the year. While each VEX GO STEM Lab follows a predictable format, there are things that you can do in this Unit to help make it easier to meet those challenges when they arise.

Implementing in less time:

  • To shorten Lab 1 with a focus on testing and recording data, combine the Engage demonstration and Play Part 1. Show students how to set up the Inclined Plane at the lowest setting, measure how far the Blue Wheel travels when released at this height and record the results on a Data Collection Sheet. Then, have groups test all three levels and share their results with the class. Can they identify a pattern? What affects the movement of the Blue Wheel? Why?
  • To complete Lab 2 in less time, conduct Play Part 1 as a guided demonstration, then have students test all three different pivot points on the Lever to balance the Disk weights. Have groups compare results and lead a discussion on how using the Lever in this way can make work easier.
  • Condense Lab 3 by having students complete 2 trials without the wheels on the Spring Car, and 2 trials with wheels. Bring students together for a discussion to share the data collected in their investigations and discuss how the wheels affect the movement of the Spring Car.

Reteaching Strategies:

  • Have students complete the Strike! Activity if they need more practice with the Inclined Plane build or need more support with connecting how the higher setting on the Inclined Plane will cause the Blue Wheel to travel farther. You can modify the Strike! Activity to have the Inclined Plane stay in the same position, and move the "pins" farther away each round until the student has to use the highest level on the Inclined Plane to make the Blue Wheel reach the "pins."
  • For students that need more support for understanding the movement, speed, and direction of gears as they mesh, have them watch the animation in the Lab 4 Image Slideshow, and help them to identify that a smaller gear moves faster when meshed with a larger gear, and a larger gear move slower when meshed with a smaller gear. Gears of the same size will move at the same speed. Then, have them observe the movement of the gears with their Clock build.

Extending this Unit:

  • For additional practice with the Clock build, have students complete the Hickory, Dickory, Clock Activity. Encourage students to identify how the gears move in the build as they complete this Activity.
  • Have students complete the Ramp Racers Activity for an additional challenge with the Inclined Plane build.
  • The Wheel It Activity is a fun way to give students more practice with using a Wheel and Axle in a build. Have students follow up on this Activity by describing how their build makes work easier.
  • Use the Choice Board activities to extend the Unit, while allowing students to express their voice and choice in what activities they want to complete.