Simple Machines

Design and drive!


In this activity, groups of 4-5 students will collaboratively design, build, test and modify a series of 3D printed toy cars that can travel the length of a track composed of simple machines. The simple machines should allow the car to move more easily along the length of the track.

Duration: Up to (3) 40-minute sessions

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Group or Individual: Group

Learning Goals

By the end of the lesson students will:

  • Explain how simple machines and mechanisms allow humans to move objects
  • Work collaboratively to critically and creatively solve the design problem
  • Conceptually ideate and create a design meeting specifications and constraints
  • Communicate using scientific vocabulary when conferencing in small/large groups
  • Utilize mathematical calculations accurately to build a 3D printed concept
  • Apply scientific principles of hypothesis, experimentation, analysis and repetition
  • Devise a mechanism that is able to travel a track composed of various simple machines


  • 3D Printer filament for printing (and scheduled time on the printer)
  • scrap cardboard for initial prototypes
  • scrap plastic for secondary prototypes
  • bottle caps
  • spools
  • wooden skewers
  • tape
  • plasticine
  • hot glue gun/gluesticks
  • 3D printer such as the Cubicon Single+
  • licensed CAD software such as Fusion 360, Inventor, TinkerCAD or SolidWorks
  • computer and mouse for each student or group for CAD design


  • Familiarity with TinkerCAD or other 3D printing software

Your Instructor

Eden Hennessey
Eden Hennessey

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

This course is closed for enrollment.