Grades: 4 & 5
Class Duration: 120 minutes
Key learning Values: This workshop was designed to explore science "essentials"— ideas and thinking tools necessary for science learning. Specifically, the subject of the workshop was “Simple Machines”.
A simple machine is a tool or device that makes lifting and moving heavy objects easier through mechanical advantage (also called leverage) to multiply work effort.
The six classical simple machines we discussed and experimented with are:
Key terms we explored include:
The students calculated the change in slope and thereby the change in force needed to do work by dividing the change in elevation (rise) over various distances (run).
We examined simple machines in everyday life: scissors, ramps, doors, window blinds, elevators, flag poles, cranes, bicycles, stairs, bottle openers, balances, etc.
During each experiment, students applied a force meter to measure the change of force needed to do work when changing the distance traveled. We learned that by increasing distance, we can decrease the force needed; or conversely by increasing the force applied, we can shorten the distance.