Simple Machines with Science – Mueller, Naito, McCormick, Chu

Name of Unit

Simple Machines with Science Curriculum


Matt Mueller, Emily Naito, Mary McCormick, Karman Chu

Brief Description

The idea of this unit is to introduce different simple machines throughout the semester and try to tie each one in with whatever the kids are currently learning about in their science class and do a project connecting them. The idea for the final project at this point is to create a type of simple generator using what we learned throughout the semester.


Simple Machines Science Curriculum Brooks School Ms McCormick 5th grade

Number of Weeks


Week 1

Introduction to gears and their uses. Activity was based on experimenting with different sized gears and the speed and power of attaching a small gear to a large gear and vice versa. Students could get a visualization of “gearing up” and “gearing down”.

Week 2

Introduction to pulleys. Pulleys were used to lift different weights, and pulley trains were created to understand how using more gears can decrease the amount of force needed to pull the same amount of weight.

Week 3

Introduction to levers. The basics of a lever were discussed in addition to what a fulcrum is. Students explored how moving the fulcrum or the position of the weights in relation to the fulcrum changes the overall force on the arm of the lever.

Week 4

Candy corn Catapult. Combining previous knowledge of levers and pulleys used in previous lessons, student built a catapult to shoot candy corn into a lego city. The angle of the lever arm for the catapult was experimented with to change where the candy corn landed.

Week 5

Making crane activity. Combining knowledge of pulleys and gears, the students created a crane that could be powered by a motor to lift the maximum weight possible.

Week 6

Continuing building crane. Students continued to build their cranes

Week 7

Finish building crane and testing of the crane. Students finished building the crane and tested it with different weights.

Week 8

Spin art activity. Using gears to create a simple machine that attaches to a motor, students created a machine to do spin art

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