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Simple Machines

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Lesson Focus 
Simple machines: their principles and uses.
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Lesson Synopsis 
Students learn the basic principles of simple machines and explore everyday uses. <UL> <LI>Simple machines are "simple" because most have only one moving part. <LI>Machines do not reduce the amount of work for us, but they can make it easier. <LI>"Work" is only done when something is moved. <LI>"Work" is the product of effort and distance. </UL>

Age Levels:


  • Learn about different types of simple machines.
  • Be able to identify simple machines as part of daily life.
  • Build a simple machine.
Anticipated Learner Outcomes 

As a result of the activities, all students should develop an understanding of:

  • Properties of objects and materials
  • Position and motion of objects

    • The position and motion of objects can be changed by pushing or pulling. The amount of change is related to the strength of the push or pull.

Lesson Activities

Three student handouts are provided for advance review:

  • Introduction To Simple Machines
  • Types of Simple Machines
  • What is Work? (Worksheet)

Four student activities are provided:

  • Are These Machines?
  • Jumping Coin Experiment
  • Make Your Own Inclined Plane
  • You are the Engineer: Problem Solving with Simple Machines

See attached student worksheets and teacher resource documents.

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.

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