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Mechanical Advantage Teacher

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Now that you've finished the build, test what it does. Explore with your build and then answer these questions in your engineering notebook.

  1. What does this build do? Explain with details.

  2. How might this build be used? Explain with details and sketches.

  3. Does the build have a mechanical advantage(s)? If so, how? What is the mechanical advantage? Explain with details.

  4. Which engineering terms are needed to explain this build to someone who has not seen it? Explain how each term describes this build.

    For example, if we were designing a roof for a house, I would say that the engineering term "pitch" is needed to describe this roof. Pitch describes the steepness of the slope in the roof. I could then use this term to better describe what I was building. Here are some suggested terms for the mechanical advantage exploration: "gear ratios", "idler gear", "speed", etc.

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1. The build seems to spin the gears at different speeds depending on which end of the mechanism the student is turning.
2. The build involving gears such as this could be used in any type of build that moves, such as a transportation vehicle (bike, car) or a machine that performs some type of function (conveyor belt, windmill). Students may sketch a build that represents something with moving parts that use more than one gear.

3. Yes, this build has a mechanical advantage because it uses a mechanism to transmit force. There are several gears working together by meshing their teeth and turning each other in a system to generate more power and speed. Amplifying the force in this manner is a type of mechanical advantage.

4. Some terms that may be used:

  • force - an object's push or pull

  • gear - one of a set of toothed wheels that work together to alter the relation between the speed of a driving mechanism

  • teeth - a type of cog on a gear that allows it to mesh with other toothed parts to transmit torque

  • velocity - measurement of the rate and direction of motion