Lesson Plans

Mechanism Materials to download
Rack and Pinion

General Activity Overview:

10 min  – Imagine.  Set placemats at each place setting, one per child. Ask them to sketch, plan, and draw their ideas. Review instructions on how to build the mechanism. Help children get started by asking them to think about the motion of the machine, and what that motion might suggest.  It might be an animal, an imaginary creature, a scene, and so on.

45 min  – Make & Test. Pass out one set of materials per project. Help students name the parts and their purposes – a servo motor, a microcontroller, or gears. Have students start assembling their mechanism. Remind students to test their mechanism’s motion with a microcontroller to troubleshoot any motion problems before decorating it.

30 min –  Decorate & Write. Set craft materials at a separate table. Invite students to decorate their mechanisms only after they have tested their movements.  Ask students who finish early to write an exhibit label description on a card.

10 min – Share & Reflect. Ask students to test their machines to see it moves as expected. Showcase their creations. Invite children to share what inspired them to make their machine; what were challenges they faced and how did they overcome them; what might they change or do differently if they had more time.