Wheels… thinking of them brings up an image of Charlie Chaplin from “Modern Times” tinkering with the giant machine that has wheels, wheels and more wheels. Wheels have a very long history, and the influence they have had on human civilization and the world we live in is immeasurable. This project outlines some ideas which would be useful in conveying the impact of wheels on our lives, including activities, to be taken up over the space of six days. While it is aimed at the middle school level, parts of it could also be carried out at the primary school level. Teachers of various subjects would need to work together on this, and ideally, two consecutive periods could be assigned for the project each day. At the end of the week, arrange for a display of all that the children have learned and made.
Day 1. History: An introduction to wheels
The wheel is a familiar object for us today. So you could begin by asking children what exactly a wheel is. The answers that come up will undoubtedly contain two key points: a wheel is circular and it moves around a fixed centre. At this point, introduce the story of wheels, and discuss the development of the wheel as a mode of transport. NBT’s Inventions that Changed the World (Part 1) has an interesting write up by Mir Najabat Ali that you could use as a resource (reproduced at www.pitara.com/non-fiction-for-kids/features-for-kids/the-wheel/. A pdf of the book is also available at www.arvindguptatoys.com. NBT’s picture book The Coming of Wheels can be used at the primary level.)
You can demonstrate the difference wheels have made to transportation using the following activity. (Try it out beforehand, to make sure that it works!)
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