Lifting a Heavy Load

Challenge your students to lift an object too heavy for a single motor.

Lifting a Heavy Load

Programming Language

Any language supported by Hummingbird Duo


Math, Science


4-5, 6-8

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This project was based on the Next Generation Science Standard MS-PS2-2: “Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.” In general, it is a good fit for disciplinary core idea PS2.A (Forces and Motion). For younger students, this project could meet Common Core math standards for division (4.OA.A, 4.NBT.B, and 5.NBT.B) or fractions (4NF.B and 5.NF.B). Including gears in this project would align it with Common Core math standards for proportions (6.RP.A, 7.RP.A, and 8.EE.B).

This project is a challenge to your students – lift something heavy! We chose an object (a plastic dinosaur) that is too heavy to be lifted by a single motor. For reference, this dinosaur is about 230 g, and items about 160 g and lower (the other toys we tried) could be lifted by one servo motor.

One way to complete this challenge is to use two servo motors, but your students may come up with other ways. Maybe they can lift something even heavier!

Extension: Using multiple motors is one way to lift a heavy object, but it is not the only way. Another alternative is to use gears. You can reuse gears from other building kits, or if you have access to a 3D printer, you can make your own gears using our files as a starting point. Incorporating gears into this project will introduce students to the concept of gear ratios and the tradeoff between speed and force.