Gearing up with Robots

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In this activity, learners experiment with gear motion to understand how gears work to change the amount of force, speed, or direction of motion in machines. Learners discover that gears allow for an increase or decrease in speed or force, or a change in the direction of motion. Learners also apply their understanding of gears to solve simple problems.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 10 Pegs per group
  • 1 Basketball
  • 1 Peg board per group
  • 3 Tennis balls
  • 4 Rubber bands per group
  • 8 Spools, big and small, per group
  • Gearing Up with Robots


  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
      • Circles
      • Rate
    • Number and Operations
      • Fractions
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Rotation Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access