Making a Trundle Wheel

Build a trundle wheel with a paper plate and yardstick. Measure distances, plan a running course.
Maker Mindset

Students will complete the surveyor wheel challenge where they are making their own surveyor wheel using different size wheels and use it to measure various walking distances. They design a course for a 5K race on their school grounds. Through the challenge and 1 or 2 follow-up lessons, the mathematical purpose to deepen understanding and use the proportional relationship between number of rotations and distance traveled by the wheel (7.RP.A) and a greater understanding of the relationship between diameter and circumference (7.G.B.4, if students are already familiar with this relationship). They will engage in mathematical practices 5 (appropriate tools) and 6 (attending to precision).

Building a maker mindset (link)

Other mathematical purposes: Scale drawings 7.G.A.1

Prior Experience

This maker lesson cycle can be used to gain a deeper understand about the relationship between diameter (D) and circumference (C) of a circle: $C = \pi\cdot D$. In this case students should already be familiar with this relationship. This activity is not intended to be used to introduce it.

Materials For This Cycle

Materials Needed For This Cycle
Material Quantity When Used
Variety of measuring tools such as yardsticks, measuring tapes. 1 of each per group challenge lesson, warm-up
Wooden yardsticks or rulers (with a hole at one end, or a drill to make holes) 1 per group challenge lesson, activity
Tape 1 per group challenge lesson, activity
Fasteners 3 per group challenge lesson, activity
Paper plates of different sizes (typical sizes are 6-12 inches) 3 per group (to make revisions) or 1 per group and extras that students have access to if they want to start over challenge lesson, activity
Piece of cardstock (index card or business cards work well) 3 per group challenge lesson, activity

Learning Cycle Wrapup

Teacher summary


Progress in Standards for Mathematical Practice assessment

Progress in Mathematical content assessment

Progress in Maker mindset assessment

Teacher Reflection

[questions and discussion for teacher reflection after teaching learning cycle]