Introduction to Simple Machines





Name of Activity Introduction to Simple Machines
Author STOMP
Keywords Simple Machines, Pulley, Wheel and Axle, Gears, Wedge, Inclined Plane, Lever, Screw
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Set up an example of each type of simple machine machine at stations around the classroom. Each station should have NXT kits, or Lego/ found materials, available for students to try mimic building each machine of their own design. It is important that for each simple machine there is an example of the machine being used in the real world (this can be done with pictures at each station, or video). This will help to get them to think about their own real world examples. End with a general discussion and “show and tell” of the simple machines they made during class. If there is time also discuss how each simple machine could be improved.
Lesson Objectives: Introduce students to the seven simple machines. Prepare students for a curriculum involving building/ using simple machines.
Materials Needed: -NXT kits (for preparing examples)
-Lego simple machine kits
-real world example pictures/ videos
-Legos in classroom for students to make their own
-assorted found materials
Preparation and Set Up: Construct (out of Legos or found materials) an example of each simple machine before going into the class. Find a way to display pictures or video of a real world example of each simple machine to display at each station.
Necessary Background None
  1. Prepare an example of each simple machine before going into the classroom
    • Note: All of the simple machines could be built with either Legos or found materials. We found that Legos worked best for building the inclined plane, wheel and axle, pulley, gear, and lever examples. We used Tetrix to demonstrate the screw and a doorstop to demonstrate the wedge.
  2. Print a picture of a real world example for each simple machine.
  3. Before going to the classroom, make sure they have enough NXT kits, assorted Legos, or found materials for students to build their own simple machine examples.
    • Consider bringing in extra supplies and Lego pieces since NXT kits don’t work extremely well for building every type of simple machine.
  4. In the classroom, introduce each simple machine and set up the examples at seven stations around the classroom. Ask them to think about (or write down) what tasks each machine could be used for, how do they make these tasks easier, and how the examples that the STOMPers built could be better.
  5. Allow students to walk around between stations and attempt to build their own version of each simple machine.
  6. Leave the last 10 minutes for students to present the examples they built and discuss the points they considered during the class time.
    • More time might be required depending on how much cleanup there is.

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