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Lesson 1.

1 Mechanisms
Introduction
Mechanisms are the basic components of most machines and consist of gears,
sprockets, pulley systems, and simple machines. The effective use and
understanding of mechanisms has contributed to the improvement and development
of technology and society for thousands of years. The first uses of mechanisms can
be seen in the development of Paleolithic tools used for hunting, gathering, and
shelter construction. Today, mechanisms can be found in everyday life from the
basic components of a bicycle to the high-tech equipment used in the medical
industry.
Engineers and scientists use mechanisms to manipulate speed, distance, force, and
function to meet a wide range of design and application requirements. Engineering
design applications range from large-scale manufacturing equipment to small-scale
electrical equipment found in automobiles, homes, and offices. Due to the wide
range of applications involving mechanisms, it is important that designers and end
users understand the characteristics, applications, and limitations of mechanisms.
In Lesson 1.1 Mechanisms, students will gain an understanding of mechanisms
through the application of theory-based calculations accompanied by lab
experimentation.

Understandings
1. Engineers and engineering technologists apply math, science, and disciplinespecific skills to solve problems.
2. Engineering and engineering technology careers offer creative job opportunities
for individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds and goals.
3. Technical communication can be accomplished in oral, written, and visual forms
and must be organized in a clear and concise manner.
4. Most mechanisms are composed of gears, sprockets, pulley systems, and simple
machines.
5. Mechanisms are used to redirect energy within a system by manipulating force,
speed, and distance.
6. Mechanical advantage ratios mathematically evaluate input work versus output
work of mechanisms.

Knowledge and Skills


In lesson 1.1, it is expected that students will:
Differentiate between engineering and engineering technology.
Conduct a professional interview and reflect on it in writing.
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Principles of Engineering Lesson 1.1 Mechanisms Page 1

Identify and differentiate among different engineering disciplines.


Measure forces and distances related to mechanisms.
Distinguish between the six simple machines, their attributes, and
components.
Calculate mechanical advantage and drive ratios of mechanisms.
Design, create, and test gear, pulley, and sprocket systems.
Calculate work and power in mechanical systems.
Determine efficiency in a mechanical system.
Design, create, test, and evaluate a compound machine design.

Essential Questions
1 Why is it important to begin considering career paths during high school?
2 What career opportunities are available to match your specific interests?
3 What are some current applications of simple machines, gears, pulleys, and
sprockets?
4 What are some strategies that can be used to make everyday mechanisms more
efficient?
5 What are the trade-offs of mechanical advantage related to design?
6 Why must efficiency be calculated and understood during the design process?

National and State Standards Alignment


For the most up-to-date Standards Alignment, please visit the PLTW Standards and
Objectives Tool at: http://alignment.pltw.org

Day-by-Day Plans
Time: 17 days
Performance-Based Assessment (Optional):

In preparation for delivering the assessment, it is strongly recommended that the


teacher read the instructions provided in the Performance-Based Assessment
Answer Key.

To assign the POE Performance-Based Assessment to students, the teacher


should locate the "POE Performance-Based Assessment" assignment in Modules
and "publish" it for student access. The item may be accessed in the myPLTW LMS
or printed for students.

A rubric that is recommended for grading is included in the assignment in the


myPLTW LMS.

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Principles of Engineering Lesson 1.1 Mechanisms Page 2

Teacher Preparation
In preparation for teaching this lesson, read the Lesson 1.1 Teacher Notes.
Determine whether students will record their notes in a daily journal, portfolio, or
their engineering notebook. For purposes of written directions in the day-by-day
for each lesson in this course, it is assumed that students will record their notes
in a journal. The journal may be a three-ring binder, spiral bound notebook, or
electronic.
Day 1

Distribute course- and school-specific materials relating to Principles of


Engineering course expectations and procedures.
Distribute an engineering notebook to each student or have students create their
own.
Distribute Sample Engineering Notebook Entries to each student and discuss
what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable entries.
Present the EngineeringNotebook.pptx.
Note: You may want to present the extended version of this presentation. The
extended version is listed in the Instructional Resources at the top of this lesson
document.

Day 2

Present the Careers in Engineering and Engineering Technology.ppt.


Students will take notes during the presentation in their journals.
Distribute and explain Activity 1.1.0 Professional Interview and Professional
Interview Rubric.
Lead a discussion about how to contact professionals and request an interview
and how best to conduct those interviews.
Give students due dates for contacting the interviewee and for the Professional
Interview activity to be completed and submitted.

Day 3
To provide a lesson overview, present Concepts, Key Terms, and Essential
Questions.
Present 1.1.1.A.a SimpleMachinesLeverWheelandAxlePulley.pptx.
Students will take notes during the presentation in their journals.
Assign problems 117 in 1.1.2.A Simple Machines Practice Problems.
Days 4 8
Present 1.1.1.A.b Simple Machine - Inclined Plane, Wedge, and Screw.ppt.
o For the portion of the presentation on screws, be sure to refer to 1.1.2.A.a
Understanding Thread Notes.
Students will take notes during the presentation in their journals.
Assign problems 1830 in 1.1.2.A Simple Machines Practice Problems.
Distribute, explain, and assign Activity 1.1.1 Simple Machine Investigation (VEX)
and Logger Pro Resource.
NOTE: The Simple Machine Investigation activity is designed for teams of two to
construct each simple machine. Various ways exist to complete this activity
based upon time available and student needs.

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Principles of Engineering Lesson 1.1 Mechanisms Page 3

Students can design their own or build from given examples.


Teams can also concentrate on specific simple machines and rotate them.
If they are rotated, subsequent teams could improve the designs.
Introduce the Robotics Reference Guide (available in the General Student
Resources page of this course) and the specific resources:
o Introduction to Structure Subsystem
o Robust Fabrication
o Introduction to the Motion Subsystem
o
o

Day 9
Collect Activity 1.1.2 Simple Machines Practice Problems for assessment, check
conclusion questions for completion, and lead a class discussion using those
questions to assess students.
Present the GearsPulleyDrivesSprockets.ppt.
Students will take notes during the presentation in their journals.
Day 10
Distribute, explain, and assign Activity 1.1.3 Gears (VEX).
Students will individually complete Activity 1.1.3 Gears and the conclusion
questions.
Students will document their design ideas generated for Activity 1.1.3 Gears in
their journals.
Day 11
Review and collect Activity 1.1.3 Gears for assessment.
Check the conclusion questions for completion and lead a class discussion using
those questions to assess students.
Distribute, explain, and assign Activity 1.1.4 Pulley Drives and Sprockets.
Students will individually complete Activity 1.1.4 Pulley Drives and Sprockets and
the conclusion questions.
Distribute, explain, and assign Activity 1.1.5 Gear, Pulley Drives, and Sprocket
Practice Problems.
Day 12
Review and collect Activity 1.1.5 Simple Machines Practice Problems and Gears,
Pulley Drives, and Sprockets Practice Problems for assessment.
Check the conclusion questions for completion and lead a class discussion using
those questions to assess students.
Introduce students to Project 1.1.6 Compound Machine Design (VEX).
Give students a copy of Project 1.1.6 Compound Machine Design Rubric to
review and return for evaluation with their final documentation and design.
Days 13 17
In teams of four, students will design, build, and test their solutions to Problem
1.1.6 Compound Machine Design.
Evaluate Problem 1.1.6 Compound Machine Design.

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