Lesson plan

Lesson 11: Building a Trundle Wheel

teaches Common Core State Standards 7.RP.A http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards
teaches Common Core State Standards MP6 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP6
teaches Common Core State Standards MP5 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP5
teaches Common Core State Standards 7.G.B.4 http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/7/G/B/4
teaches New York State Standards NY-7.G.4.

Lesson 11: Building a Trundle Wheel

This lesson is optional. In the second lesson of the 4-lesson sequence, students build a trundle wheel, a device used to measure walking distances. First, they learn about a trundle wheel and discuss how such a device works (MP5). Then, students use paper plates to make a usable trundle wheel and practice using it to measure distances in the classroom.

Students can either use the same-sized paper plates or different groups can use different-sized paper plates. The use of different-sized plates allows for more mathematical discussion about how diameter and circumference of the plates affect how we report the distance being measured (MP6).

As with all lessons in this unit, all related standards have been addressed in prior units. This lesson provides an optional opportunity to go deeper and make connections between domains.

Lesson overview

  • 11.1 Optional Activity: What Is a Trundle Wheel? (10 minutes)
  • 11.2 Activity: Building a Trundle Wheel (25 minutes)

Learning goals:

  • Create a trundle wheel and use it to calculate the length of the classroom.
  • Explain (orally and in writing) how a trundle wheel is used to measure long distances.

Learning goals (student facing):

  • Let’s build a trundle wheel.

Required materials:

  • Index cards
  • Measuring tools
  • Metal paper fasteners
  • Paper plates
  • Tape

Required preparation:

  • To build the trundle wheel, each group of 3–4 students will need 1 paper plate, a metal paper fastener, something long object to use as the handle, an index card, and tape.
  • Ideally, have three different sizes of paper plates for different groups to work with (typical sizes are 6–12 inches) to help reinforce the point that the size of the plate affects how many “clicks” (rotations) it takes to measure the same distance.
  • There are many options for how to make the handles.
  • A yardstick or meter stick with a hole on one end is most convenient.
  • Alternatively, you can tape two rulers together or cut pieces of sturdy cardboard or foam core that are about 1.5 inches wide by 30 inches long, and poke a hole centered at one end.


  • Access the complete Grade 7 glossary. 


  • This lesson builds on the standard:CCSS.7.G.B.4MS.7.G.4MO.7.GM.A.4b






IM 6–8 Math was originally developed by Open Up Resources and authored by Illustrative Mathematics, and is copyright 2017-2019 by Open Up Resources. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0). OUR's 6–8 Math Curriculum is available at https://openupresources.org/math-curriculum/.

Adaptations and updates to IM 6–8 Math are copyright 2019 by Illustrative Mathematics, and are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).

Adaptations to add additional English language learner supports are copyright 2019 by Open Up Resources, and are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).

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