Wheels on all vehicles are attached to 'axles'. These pictures show axles for trucks. Axles connect the wheels to the vehicle while at the same time allowing the wheels to go round freely. Axles are attached to the underneath of a vehicle (the 'chassis').
Try making a vehicle with a chassis, wheels and axles out of construction kits. Think about how you put wheels on the vehicle so that they go round freely and help the vehicle to move.
Make your model from card or junk. You could use straws for the axles and cardboard circles as the wheels. Use a hole punch on small triangles of card to make holes for the axle to go through. The card can be glued or taped to the underneath of the vehicle (the 'chassis').
You could use the straw as your axle which you fix to the bottom of your model and then fix some card board wheels onto a length of round wood called doweling. Put one wheel on first, then push the doweling through the straw and fix the other wheel on.
There are two ways of making wheels and axles work:
- Fix the wheels to the axle and then fix the axle to the chassis so that it can turn freely. You will need something with a hole large enough for the axle to pass through freely which is attached to the vehicle.
- Fix the axle to the chassis so that it does not move and then put the wheels on to the axle so that they rotate or turn freely. This might be hollow tube fixed to the underneath of the vehicle, the axle is passed through this and the wheels fixed onto the axle so that they do not move.
Now you have done some experimenting with wheels choose a vehicle you would like to make and come up with a design. How many wheels will it have and why?
- Decide what your vehicle is going to be
- Join the materials for your model in a way so that it does not fall apart
- Use any tools carefully
How good is your model vehicle? Do the wheels work!
You can download images from the 'Gallery' for use in class.
Your class could design their vehicle using a graphics package on a computer. They could also design a logo to go on the side of their vehicle if it was a bus or a truck.
You could also look at fantasy vehicles making a play on the number of wheels e.g. a caterpillar bus with lots and lots of wheels!
To celebrate your young designers you could put on a ‘Transport Show’ with the class writing descriptions of their vehicles as if they were selling them at a motor show.