Simple Machines experiment: see how wheels & axles work
In Simple Machines, kids experiment with wheels and axles by sending a cyclist through an obstacle course. In this activity, you can see how wheels and axles work by getting outside and going for a ride together!
Download and print the activity here.
- bikes, scooters, or skateboards
See how a wheel and axle works!
- Ride bikes, scooters, or skateboards with your child.
- Notice which direction you’re applying an input force.
- Notice which direction you’re moving.
On a bike, the input force is applied in a circular motion, around and around as you pedal. The wheel and axle changes the direction of your force so you move forward in a line. With every pedal, you apply a strong input force over a short distance on the axle to move the wheel a greater distance with less force.
On a scooter or a skateboard, you push down on the ground to move forward. Again, the direction of your force is changed. But, the wheel and axle in a scooter or skateboard work in the opposite way a bike does. You apply a weaker force over a longer distance around the wheel and the axle turns a shorter distance with more force.