Build a Big Wheel

What does it take to prepare for a construction project? In an engineering lesson, youngsters examine how a Ferris wheel can turn and carry a load without falling apart. After reading up on big wheel designs, they create a model using pasta noodles, teabags, and other simple materials. Try finding a video on the Internet about the amazing Singapore Flyer and showing it to your class as an anticipatory set.

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  • A high-interest topic is the basis for a memorable engineering lesson
  • Can be used in a STEM class or for meeting Next Generation Science Standards in engineering
  • Detailed student handouts include color photographs for added interest

  • There is no instruction on the structure of a big wheel, so you may want to have groups spend a little time researching what makes one strong enough to hold the load