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Build a Big Wheel

Lesson Focus 
Lesson focuses on the engineering behind big wheels (sometimes called Ferris wheels). Teams of students explore the engineering behind the "London Eye," explore the history of big wheels, and construct a working wheel model using pasta, glue, and teabags.

Age Levels:

8 - 18
Objectives 
  • Learn about engineering design.
  • Learn about motion, load, and construction.
  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups.
Anticipated Learner Outcomes 

As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • structural engineering and design
  • problem solving
  • teamwork
Lesson Activities 

Students learn how big wheels have been designed throughout history, and then work in teams to develop a design for their own pasta wheel. Teams plan their wheel, execute construction, troubleshoot, evaluate their own work and that of other students, and present to the class.

Resources/Materials 
  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.


Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks
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