Unit 9 Lesson Plan: Drivetrain Design

Grade Level:


9th grade general math and science

Concepts Addressed:

In this unit, studentswill learn about the physical principles of friction and traction through the exploration of robot drivetrain design.

Learning Objectives:

  • The students will be able to demonstrate how applied force and friction are related.
  • The students will be able to distinguish between static and kinetic friction.
  • The students will be able to calculate wheel speed.
  • The students will be able to demonstrate how to calculate a gear reduction.
  • The students will be able to compare and contrast the different types of drivetrains, along with their benefits and drawbacks.

STEM Connections:

The major physics concepts including friction and traction will be introduced along with the geometry involved in the different types of drivetrains involved in robotics.

Materials Needed:

  • Unit Guide
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Rulers
  • Internet Access
  • Dictionaries
  • VEX Robotics Kit
  • Computers with Autodesk Inventor
  • Storage containers
  • Online Resources

Key Terminology:

Day to Day Lesson Plan:

Day 1:

Provide an introduction to the basic principles of friction and traction. Have the students identify examples of Friction, Traction, Static Friction, Coefficient of Friction, and Normal Force. After completing a review of the new vocabulary the students will be able to come up with examples found at school, in their neighborhood and in industry.


Day 2:

Begin with The Drivetrain Terminology and work through Omni Wheels. Have students make sketches of the different types of drivetrains in their engineering notebooks. Make sure that they label their work.


Day 3:

Begin with Geometry and Turning of the Drivetrain and work through Turning Scrub.


Day 4:

Begin with the Design of a Turning Drivetrain and work through turning points.


Day 5:

Begin with Gear Train Design and work through calculations on gear reduction.


Day 6:

Begin with Motor Loading and introduce the Design Activity.


Day 7:

Continue with the Design Activity.


Day 8:

Allow for additional practice on calculations, design activity and concept review.


Engineering Notebook “Seed Questions”:

  1. How can you use friction to your advantage when you create your robot drivetrain?
  2. How can you use geometry to help select the most efficient drivetrain for your robot?