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Demonstrating Simple Machines

Found In: experiments & simulations, kinesthetic learning, modeling, science

Simple machines are really easy to demonstrate with tools from the hardware store. I keep a plastic storage box filled with:

  • a screw driver,
  • hammer,
  • vise,
  • pulleys,
  • clothesline,
  • four or five toy cars (about the same size),
  • four or five smooth pieces of plywood for inclined planes for running the cars,
  • some plastic drinking cups to attach to the clothesline as baskets for the pulley system,
  • springs,
  • a hand cranked egg beater to demonstrate gears, and
  • scissors.

I have many prepared bulletin board sets demonstrating each of the machines. I reinforce vocabulary with pictures showing force, fulcrum and load. My kids love to participate in this unit and enjoy finding other household objects that are technically simple machines, such as a can opener, knife and broom.


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