Simple Machines

Examples:

Overview

What are simple machines?  Where can they be found?  Why are they important to use?  Why do we need them?  These are all very good questions that students may not always know the answers to because they do not really think about using them.  However, we use simple machines of some kind daily.

Simple machines are tools that make work and life easier for us, and they have few or very little moving parts.   Some of the most commonly used simple machines include the following:  lever, inclined plane, wheel and axle, wedge, screw, and pulley.  These can be easily found at playgrounds, at school, or at home.  Students need to understand that some items that are made by using simple machines include wheelbarrows, flag poles, wheelchair ramps, and bicycles.  These items are used every day of our lives without us even thinking about them whether it is at work or at play.

Georgia Performance Standard

The topic, Simple Machines, is mandated to be taught in our school's curriculum.   Teachers use the following Performance Standard whenever they visit this topic in the classroom:

Physical Science

S4P3 Students will demonstrate the relationship between the application of a force
and the resulting change in position and motion on an object.
a. Identify simple machines and explain their uses (lever, pulley, wedge, inclined
plane, screw, wheel and axle).

Activities

1.  Title/ of Activity and Brief Description of the activity.

What is a pulley?  The students will explore the topic on pulleys.  They will learn what materials are required to make a pulley and how they are used in our every day lives.  The students will learn how pulleys are important when  they help them do work.

2. PLO - What will the student learn from doing this activity?

The students will draw an example of a pulley, and they will explain their drawing to their classmates.  They will learn how pulleys help us to do work.

3. Web Site and any other materials that students need to do the activity.

The students will use the following website for this activity.
http://www.coe.uh.edu/archive/science/science_lessons/scienceles1/pulley.htm
Other materials:  paper, pencils, crayons, Internet Explorer, computer
Dahl, Michael. (1996). Pulleys. Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone Press.

4. Procedures
Explain steps for teaching the activity Include any questions or things that children should be looking for as they navigate through the web site.

Allow the class to navigate the following the following website
http://www.coe.uh.edu/archive/science/science_lessons/scienceles1/pulley.htm. Next, read the book Pulleys.  After exploring the website and reading the book, give the class time to discuss the topic on pulleys.  Distribute the proper materials for students to draw their examples of pulleys, and tell them to write a brief desrciption of their drawing at the bottom of their paper.  Finally, permit the students to take turns sharing their drawings and ideas to the class.

5.  Product:  What will students do with the information they learned on the web site to satisfy the PLO?

The students will locate 3 examples of pulleys in their communities in which they live.  They will share them with their families and their friends.  Encourage them to explain the importance of using pulleys when producing work.

1.  Title/ of Activity and Brief Description of the activity.

How do we use levers?  Students will learn that machines are any tools that help do work.  ONe example is a lever.  They will investigate this topic to find out why we need levers and how we use them.  They will search for examples of levers.

2. PLO - What will the student learn from doing this activity?

The students will develop and complete a KWL chart based on levers.

3. Web Site and any other materials that students need to do the activity.

The students will use the following website for this activity
http://www.fi.edu/qa97/spotlight3/spotlight3.html.
Other materials: paper and pencil, chart paper and markers, computer, Internet Explorer
Dahl, Michael. (1996). Levers. Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone Press.

4. Procedures
Explain steps for teaching the activity Include any questions or things that children should be looking for as they navigate through the web site.

Instruct the students to think about these questions and statements as they navigate the website:
http://www.fi.edu/qa97/spotlight3/spotlight3.html.  What is a lever?  How do we use levers?   Why do we need levers?  List some examples of levers.  Tell the class that they will create and fill in their KWL chart as you do it on the chart paper.  Ask the students to tell you what they already know about levers.  Fill in the "K" part of the chart as the class fills in their part on their chart.  Next, ask the students to discuss what they want to learn about levers.  You will write their responses in the "W" section of the chart.  Instruct the students to complete this section just like you did.  Then, allow time for the class to divide into small groups  and explore the website as well as read the book on levers.  Finally, give the class time to discuss what they learned with their groups before bringing them back together to complete the "L" section of the chart.  Let the students describe and list examples of levers in this section.  Write their responses in the "L" section of the chart, and inform them that they need to do the same on their papers.

5.  Product:  What will students do with the information they learned on the web site to satisfy the PLO?

Let the class look for examples of levers that are used at school.  For their ticket out of the door and before they go home, tell them to write down where they found one example of a lever at school.  Some examples may be:  a playground (seesaw), a teacher's desk (finger nail snips), a janitor's broom, and a maintenace man's hammer.  Encourage the class to share their newly learned information with their family and friends.

1.  Title/ of Activity and Brief Description of the activity.

Why is it important to learn about inclined planes?  Ask the class to describe what an inclined plane is in their own words.  Explain that many people use inclined planes every day of their lives.  Tell them that one example is a wheelchair ramp.  Instruct them to check and see if their definition matches or is similar to the websites definition of an inclined plane.

2. PLO - What will the student learn from doing this activity?

The students will write a paragraph in their science journals on inclined planes and their importance.

3. Web Site and any other materials that students need to do the activity.

The students will use the following website with this topic,
http://www.coe.uh.edu/archive/science/science_lessons/scienceles1/plane.htm
Other materials: paper and pencils, computer, Internet Explorer
Dahl, Michael. (1996). Inclined Planes. Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone Press.

4. Procedures
Explain steps for teaching the activity Include any questions or things that children should be looking for as they navigate through the web site.

As the students tour the website,
http://www.coe.uh.edu/archive/science/science_lessons/scienceles1/plane.htm., and explore the trade book on inclined planes, instruct them to discover why it is important to learn about inclined planes.  Ask them to locate and list another name for an inclined plane (a steep grade).  After touring the website, instruct the students to write a paragraph on inclined planes and their importance in their science journals.  Allow them to also list some examples and locations of inclined planes.

5.  Product:  What will students do with the information they learned on the web site to satisfy the PLO?

The students will explore their city or community to locate as many inclined planes as possible.  They can be found in many different locations such as grocery stores, malls, and highways.  Encourage students to make a list of these places to bring and to share with the rest of the class.  Check to see if there is a variety of locations how many students had the same exact locations of inclined planes.  Encourage the class to share their findings with other students from different classes.

Instructional Topic Web Sites

Pulley--What is a pulley and how does it work?  Check out this site to find out.
http://www.coe.uh.edu/archive/science/science_lessons/scienceles1/pulley.htm

Lever--How do we use levers?  Why do we need them?  Learn more when you visit this site.
http://www.fi.edu/qa97/spotlight3/spotlight3.html

Wheel and Axle--Are these the same items that are used on a car or truck?   Click on the site below to find out.
http://www.fi.edu/pieces/knox/automaton/wheel.htm

Wedge--What are wedges and where can we find them?  Explore this site to learn more.
http://www.fi.edu/pieces/knox/automaton/wedge.htm

Inclined Plane--Why is it important to learn about inclined planes?  What is a steep grade?  Use caution whenever you tour this site.
http://www.coe.uh.edu/archive/science/science_lessons/scienceles1/plane.htm

Software Programs

Title of software program: Learn about Physical Science: Simple Machines

Explain how the software can be used with this topic to enhance learning.  This software program includes explanations and opportunities for students to explore and learn about simple machines.  It provides for interactive learning experiences by also offering fun quizzes to reinforce the concepts being learned.  It offers an auditory option for lower leveled readers.  I think this software program is appropriate to use with primary or elementary students.

Evaluate the software.  What problems can one anticipate when using this program.
The only problem that I have noticed is the price for school use.  It increases dramatically whenever it's downloaded to multiple computers.

Title of software program:  Science Court: Work and Simple Machines

Explain how the software can be used with this topic to enhance learning.   This program offers a chance to provide hands on experiences for students.  It encourages discussion while reinforcing the concept of simple machines.  It gives students opportunities to apply an equation like force X distance = work.  It promotes the ideal relationship between these concepts.

Evaluate the software.  What problems can one anticipate when using this program.
I think this program offers grade level appropriate activities.  It also provides a "teacher's guide" for teachers.  I don't foresee any problems other than the cost for school use.  This program offers technical support if necessary.  It also meets state and national standards.

Title of software program:  School House Rock! Exploration Station

Explain how the software can be used with this topic to enhance learning.  This program offers fun concepts of simple machines and other science related topics.  It's animated so that it helps keep student's attention.  It provides demostrations that explains the directions for each game.

Evaluate the software.  What problems can one anticipate when using this program.
This program helps to encourage students to develop critical thinking skills while exploring many different topics and processes.  One problem taht may arise is from any additional games or questions that may be downloade.  Parents and teachers will need to make sure that their home or school computers have firewalls and virus protections installed before downloading.

Title of software program:  Microsoft Office (Word)

Explain how the software can be used with this topic to enhance learning.  After researching the topic simple machines, this software program can be used by students to write, type, and print reports on simple machines.

Evaluate the software.  What problems can one anticipate when using this program.
I think this is a good program to use.  It is user friendly and offers help if questions arise.  One problem may be that people may not remember to save their work before quitting the program or shutting down the computer.  Remember to always save your work.

Title of software program:  Microsoft Office (Excel)

Explain how the software can be used with this topic to enhance learning.  This program can be used by students when making tables to compare and contrast simple machines.

Evaluate the software.  What problems can one anticipate when using this program.
This program may require use by older students who are familiar with a computer and it's options.  It's not as user friendly as Microsoft Word.  A student may also lose any unsaved information with this program.  The key to remember is to save the student's work before closing the program or shutting down the computer.

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