Setting Up a Solid Foundation

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The following lesson is part of a series that should be explored in a sequential manner. Students will need the full exploration each concept in order to move from one phase of Levers, Arms and Fulcrum Points to the next. It is more than just play at this level. The purpose of these exercises is to take the concept of play into the field of science. It may not be easy, but it’s certainly will be fun!

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SKILLS/ATTRIBUTES

Collaboration
Imagination and Risk Taking

approximate time

25min

 

When getting ready for exploration with the Simple Machines Add-On Kit and the Rigamajig Basic Builder Kit, it is essential for students to have a solid platform from which to work. By creating a simple vertical plane or horizontal plane, students now have the appropriate workspace to experiment and test their ideas..

 
 
 

Challenges for Students

 Examples of very simple horizontal planes 

Examples of very simple horizontal planes 

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Challenge #1:

Design and Create a simple horizontal plane with spacing allowing for gears to move freely.

Tip: With horizontal planes gravity can help you hold parts down! Moving parts like gears work best with a single wing bolt inserted from above. No nut is necessary to hold them in place!

 Example of very basic narrow vertical plane
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Challenge #2: Design and Create a vertical plane tall enough for gears to move freely without interference. Notice the effect gravity has on unbalanced parts!

Tip: Nuts are necessary to hold parts together in a vertical plane, but might tighten and bind on moving parts. Two nuts tightened against each other can lock together and prevent this, or use the Axles! The threads stop and keep nuts from binding on moving parts.

 Example of very basic narrow vertical plane

Example of very basic narrow vertical plane

 Gears moving freely on a simple plane

Gears moving freely on a simple plane

Bonus Challenge:

Can an inclined plane be set up that allows for gears other parts to be mounted to it? With inclined planes gravity works both to hold parts against the platform and to let unbalanced parts flop around!

Investigative Questions During Exploration:

Is your creation structurally sound?

What are the useful features of your platform?

Can any addition be made to make it more complex and still maintain stability?