The Gears EDS Program - Engineering Construction and Design

Students and teachers can construct a remote or autonomously controlled machine capable of playing a game in which they designed by using the GEARS-EDS materials and components and basic, physical science principals.

The GEARS-EDS Educational System products can be used to create a comprehensive program of study in which students and teachers participate in the engineering design and manufacturing process.

The GEARS-EDS program engages students in the following engineering processes:

  • The creation and sharing of ideas
  • Engineering drawing and design
  • Fabricating and testing mechanisms
  • Creating and analyzing mathematical models
  • Constructing subassemblies (modules) and integrating them into complex machines
  • Managing the five engineering budgets: time, materials, knowledge, weight, and power.
  • Inventing creative solutions to exciting and engaging problems

Components of the Program

1. Students and teachers develop an engineering problem by inventing a mechanical challenge. (Download an example -263Kb pdf)

1.1. Student engineering teams develop game objectives and strategies.
1.2. Game ideas and concepts are presented to the class via slides and/or movies and webpages.
1.3. The students and teacher(s) review the game presentations and either select a particular game or they work cooperatively to incorporate aspects of several games into a mutually satisfying game.
1.4. The students and or the teacher(s) construct the playing field and game pieces.
1.5. The playing rules and safety rules are developed, agreed upon, and published.

2. Students begin the design process by building, testing, and experimenting with various components and modules contained in the GEARS kit.

2.1. Machines are comprised of individual components that can be combined into assemblies, often referred to as modules; several modules can be integrated into a compound mechanism or system. Integrated modules might include drive trains, lifting mechanisms, booms, various end effectors, etc.
2.2. GEARS Educational Systems provides illustrated instructions and lessons that support the development of skills and mastery associated with each module.
2.3. Students develop mathematical models that describe the performance of pneumatic components, fixed magnet DC motors, drive trains, power and energy output, and lever systems associated with each module.

3. Student engineering teams develop, share, and record multiple ideas for machine playing strategies and concepts.

3.1. Using CAD tools and lessons provided by GEARS Educational Systems, students develop sketches of mechanical concepts that can be refined into solid models in order to better communicate their design intentions.

4. Student engineering teams select optimal ideas and identify the best mechanical strategies. Students design, construct, and test electrical and mechanical sub-assemblies and systems.

4.1. Student engineering teams assign responsibilities for the design and construction of various subassemblies or engineering modules based on the particular requirements of their design. The design could include drive and traction systems, lifting mechanisms, CAD models, or electronic control systems.
4.2. Team members develop, test, and complete their assigned modules or other engineering responsibilities.
4.3. Students simultaneously produce individual (chronological) records of the design process they and their team are engaged in.

5. Student engineering teams integrate their respective subassemblies or modules into a comprehensive machine capable of competing in the game.

5.1. Game ladders are arranged and machines are inspected for safety and rules compliance.
5.2. Games can be videotaped and used for assessing the engineering effectiveness of various strategies or designs.
5.3. Let the games begin!

6. Student engineering teams photograph their creations, complete their engineering drawings and notebooks, and dismantle and organize the GEARS-EDS kits.

6.1. Game tapes are reviewed and various engineering and game playing strategies are discussed in an effort to better prepare for next year's program.
6.2. Course content and assessment strategies are also considered and changes are made where appropriate.


The following assessment strategy is offered for your consideration. Assessment categories and weighting should be modified for individual teacher use.

Suggested Grade Weighting for Participating Students:

  • 0-25%: Awarded to each student for the degree to which their team's machine competed successfully and exhibited a cohesive design strategy.
  • 0-25%: Awarded by peer review with consideration of the following factors:
    • Personal achievements and identifiable contribution to the team's successful completion of the project.
    • Particular accomplishment in CAD design or other engineering skills.


The creation and maintenance of a student notebook that chronicles the design process,exhibits detailed notes, contains all assigned classwork and provides examples of mastery of mathematical analysis, engineering design and drawing skills, and is presented in an orderly and organized manner is an achievement that should be recognized.

The stated objective of the GEARS-EDS program is to involve students in the engineering design process. Merely building a machine to play a game is not the educational objective, it is the means to an end.The compilation of accurate records that indicate familiarity with the materials presented is the educational expectation

Notebooks can be evaluated with respect to the following criteria:

  • All lesson plans/worksheets are completed and in chronological order.
  • The design process is documented clearly with combined photos and text.
  • The assigned engineering drawings and/or solid models are present.
  • Examples of Working drawings are present and fully dimensioned. Sketches are present and annotated in a manner that demonstrates the thinking processes exhibited in the construction of the machine.
  • All quizzes are present.
  • Required spreadsheets and/or calculations are present and clearly noted.
  • Overall attractiveness and organization of the notebook.

Assessment depends in part on peer review. Students should be encouraged to present and compare their work with others in the class and to evaluate what they have accomplished.

The entire program of activities should be recorded on videotape. Recording the activities is an excellent way to introduce the program to incoming students. It is also helpful to maintain a library of the "best" notebooks to share with next year's students.

All students should be given the opportunity to review the video documentation. In addition, students should be encouraged to swap tales of their experiences and recount amusing and interesting, anecdotal accounts of their learning adventure.

Recounting and revisiting experiences creates powerful learning opportunities. Instructors should take part in these interactions in an effort to improve the quality of the learning experience in the coming years.

GEARS EDS is the leading supplier of open source educational robotics programs and hands-on engineering and mechatronics kits.

Unlike our competitors, all products are made from industrial grade materials to ensure years of use. We enable and encourage users to integrate their own sourced, fabricated, or salvaged components.

Developed by an educator, GEARS programs are widely used from middle school through college. Extensive curriculum delivers S.T.E.M. educational resources to aid teachers and engage and inspire students.