Tech Machines

Wheeling Away

In this lesson children will learn about the function of wheels, and use spatial awareness to understand how wheeled vehicles move.



Show the children a couple of the wheels from the Tech Machines set.
Talk about the attributes and function of wheels.

Ask questions like:

  • What shape are wheels?
  • How do they move?
  • How do they help vehicles get around?
    Talk about how the round shape of wheels allows them to roll easily.

Explain that vehicles with multiple wheels can balance and move heavy objects.
If the children are not used to using the screwdrivers, model how to build a four-wheeled vehicle, using the screwdriver to secure the wheels.



Ask the children to build their very own four-wheeled vehicles.

Explain that they may use the building cards for inspiration or design their own vehicle.

  • Some children will use the single tire treads and some will use the long treads that extend over two wheels.
  • Help them assemble the tires with treads as needed.

As the children build, help them use the screwdriver to secure their wheels.
Once the children have finished building, ask them to test their vehicles by rolling them across the floor.



Facilitate a discussion about the children’s vehicles.

Ask questions like:

  • What kind of vehicle did you build?
  • How do the wheels help your vehicle move?

Give children the opportunity to adapt their designs based on what they have learned when they tested them.
Have the children test their vehicles again and tell them to be sure to include a passenger or two!



Build a small ramp and ask the children to roll their vehicles down it.
Encourage the children to test different four-wheeled vehicle designs and mark how far each one rolls.
As a group, compare and contrast the different designs and their ability to roll down the ramp.

Did you notice?

Observing the following skills can help you monitor whether the children are developing the necessary competencies:

  • Technology - Using technology, such as wheels and simple tools in appropriate ways
  • Technology - Asking questions about technology-related concepts
  • Engineering - Participating in the engineering process by building and testing models
  • Math - Recognizing, comparing, and naming shapes
  • Math - Using spatial awareness to understand objects and how they move


Children will:

  • Explore the components of the Tech Machines set
  • Learn about the function of wheels
  • Recognize shapes and attributes
  • Use spatial awareness to understand how wheeled vehicles move

For up to 4 children

Tech Machines set (45002)
Small ramp or materials to construct one

The learning guidelines from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Head Start, and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been used to develop the Tech Machines lessons. This Teacher Guide focuses on the learning values for math, science, and engineering. Please refer to the learning grid for an overview of the learning values referenced throughout the lessons. The learning goals listed at the end of each lesson can be used to determine whether each child is developing the relevant skills. These bullet points target specific skills or pieces of information that are practiced or presented during each lesson.