Gearing up for STEM


Fourth-graders at George Washington Elementary School built merry-go-rounds during a science, technology, engineering and mathematics unit.

Guided by district Director of Science Joseph Cangemi, the students discussed the purpose of simple machines and how gears allow them to move. They made predictions about the sizes of the gears with regard to their effect on the merry-go-round’s speed.

Working in pairs, the students followed step-by-step directions to build one of two merry-go-round models, utilizing axles, rods, gears and pulleys to construct them.

After the teams had assembled their structures, the class discussed the differences between the models and the significance of using different-sized gears for the merry-go-round to spin.