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Grinding Gears

Many consider Ada Lovelace to be the very first computer programer, and 200 years ago she helped imagine a steam-powered “computer” that used hundreds of gears to perform mathematical operations. This instrument was called the Analytical Engine, and you can read more about it and Ada's amazing algorithms here.

Inspired by Ada Lovelace’s Analytical Engine, make your own system of interconnecting gears from things around the kitchen by following this activity. Once you build the gears, connect them together and see if you can figure out how moving one will affect the others!

Photo of homemade gears
Make your own gears at home with lids and gumdrops!


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