Gizmo Rig: a test stand for STEM Design Projects

Grade Levels
3rd - 6th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip (34 pages)
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The Gizmo Rig is an re-usable test stand for designing and building STEM engineering projects. The Gizmo rig enables students to work out the main features of their mechanical or structural design projects before they start building the final project. This saves time and materials! This project supplies the material list, plans, and a step-by-step guide to build a class set of Gizmo Rigs. Your students can build a class set of Gizmo Rigs (8 units) in about an hour, with less than $100 worth of materials. See our blog post for examples of the Gizmo Rig in action:

The rig is very sturdy with two upright beams and two adjustable arms. The beams and arms have holes to support a wide variety of mechanical components. The version in this packet has been used to study simple machines, build catapults, and support mechanical puppets under construction. Earlier versions of the Gizmo Rig were used to measure magnetic force, test kite materials, and observe electromotive force. Your students will have fun using real-world hand tools and hardware while building an apparatus that can be used over and over again.

Included in this unit are the following:

  • Gizmo Rig lesson using an Engineering Design Process (EDP) format
  • NGSS standards, Key Vocabulary terms, Learning Objectives
  • Real-World Application, Teacher Notes, and Engineering Tips
  • A step-by-step building guide for STEM classes
  • Fastener Chart to familiarize students with a variety of fasteners and teacher notes to support teacher questions.

BONUS: An alternative step-by-step building guide is also provided to guide teachers and mentors who want to build the Gizmo Rig in a workshop environment, rather than a STEM class. Students or science club members will build the rig from the beginning using a variety of power tools in addition to the hand tools. This would be a great extracurricular or afterschool service project to donate a set of Gizmo Rigs to science teachers for classroom use.

Total Pages
34 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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