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Simple Machines
Lab 3 - Wheel & Axle

Teacher Portal


Materials Needed

The following is a list of all the materials that are needed to complete the VEX GO Lab. These materials include student facing materials as well as teacher facilitation materials. It is recommended that you assign two students to each VEX GO Kit.

In some Labs, links to teaching resources in a slideshow format have been included. These slides can help provide context and inspiration for your students. Teachers will be guided in how to implement the slides with suggestions throughout the lab. All slides are editable, and can be projected for students or used as a teacher resource. To edit the Google Slides, make a copy into your personal Drive and edit as needed.

Other editable documents have been included to assist in implementing the Labs in a small group format. Print the worksheets as is or copy and edit those documents to suit the needs of your classroom. Example Data Collection sheet setups have been included for certain experiments as well as the original blank copy. While they offer suggestions for setup, these documents are all editable to best suit your classroom and the needs of your students.

Materials Purpose Recommendation


For students to build the Spring Car for activities in Play Part 1 and 2.

1 per group

Lab 3 Image Slideshow

For teacher and student context and inspiration during the Lab.

1 for teacher demonstration

Pre-built Spring Car

For demonstration in the Engage section.

1 per group

Spring Car Build Instructions

Editable Google Doc for organizing group work and best practices for using the VEX GO Kit.
For students to measure how far the car travels in Play Part 1 and 2 investigations.

1 per group

Robotics Roles & Routines

Editable Google Doc for organizing group work and best practices for using the VEX GO Kit.

1 per group

Data Collection Sheet or Lab 3 Data Collection Example

Editable Google Doc for recording distance traveled and predictions for the test trials in Play Part 1 and 2.

1 per group

Ruler/ Measuring Tape

For students to measure how far the car travels in Play Part 1 and 2 investigations.

1 per group


For students to fill out the Robotics Roles & Routines sheet and the Data Collection. 

1 per group

Pin Tool

To help remove pins or pry beams apart.

1 per group

Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! PDF Book (optional)

To read with students to introduce them to VEX GO through a story and introductory build. 1 for demonstration purposes

Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! Teacher's Guide (optional)

For additional prompts when introducing students to VEX GO with the PDF Book. 1 for teacher use


Begin the lab by engaging with the students.

  1. Hook

    Ask students, “Who has ever ridden a bike? What makes the bike move? What happens if it gets a flat tire?” Guide students to identify how wheels help us move objects, and show how the axle is what holds the wheel in place, allowing it to rotate freely.

    Introduce the Spring Car and show how it works. Point out that the wheel and axle allow the car to move farther with less force. Work becomes easier when less force is needed to complete a task.

    Note: If students are new to VEX GO, use the Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! PDF book and Teacher’s Guide to introduce them to learning and building with VEX GO. Add an additional 10-15 minutes to your lesson time to accommodate this additional activity. 

  2. Leading Question

    What would happen if we removed the wheel and axle? How would the car move without this simple machine?

  3. Build Students will use build instructions to build the Spring Car without the wheel and axle.


Allow students to explore the concepts introduced.

Part 1

Groups will test their builds without the wheels and axle in three test trials. They will mark the starting point, test the car by pulling and releasing the slider, and measure the distance traveled. Students will record measurements on their Data Collection worksheet.

Mid-Play Break

Discuss the results of the first part of the investigation. Groups will predict how adding the wheel and axle will affect the distance traveled by the Spring Car, and why.

Part 2

Groups will run three tests and record the distances traveled by the Spring Car with the wheels and axle. Students will then draw conclusions based on their compiled data in guided discussions. The teacher will circulate and prompt these discussions, “How did the wheels affect the movement of the car? Why?”


Allow students to discuss and display their learning.

A VEX GO character

Discussion Prompts