We use this collection of activities to familiarize the students with what gears are and how they work. It is an excellent opportunity for them to apply their math knowledge. These activities require a LEGO or Botball kit.

Sample short unit: GEARS

In the world of engineering, gears have countless applications. Take apart just about any kind of mechanical toy, wristwatch, or fishing reel and you'll encounter gearing. Gears can be used to increase or decrease force. They can also be used to increase or decrease speed. First, let's analyze gears and force. The term torque is applied to gearing when talking about force. Torque is a force that produces or tends to produce rotation. We can explain torque as a mathematical expression ( t = rF ) or torque ( t ) equals crank radius ( r ) times tangential force ( F ). The other property we are interested in is speed. Speed is the rate at which something travels a distance or length. Below are several activities that will explain the basics of gearing. A few of the activities assume that students understand algebra and some trigonometry.

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