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hawkfam hawkfam is offline
 
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Simple Machines ideas
Old 02-09-2008, 12:45 PM
 
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I was wondering if anyone has any ideas for simple machines? Any cute activities??? We teach wheels & axles, levers, inclined planes and screws.


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Oh how fun
Old 02-09-2008, 04:53 PM
 
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Why not create a bulletin board, piece by piece and each time you study a new simple machine, add it on the board?

One thing I like to do is to bring in a huge basket of all the simple machines that I found in my kitchen. You can do this at the beginning of the unit as an intro, or at the end to see if they can identify the machine (as a lever, screw, etc.). Also, during the unit, you can have them look for simple machines during the school day (on the playground, in classrooms, etc.).

Oh, the kitchen tools I bring in often include:

My kitchen shears (two wedges connected into a lever)
My "cheater bar" which is a lever I use to open hard to open jars.
My cork screw which has a screw on it.
My egg beaters which have gears (not technically simple machines but they are a type of wheel and axle).
My knife (a wedge)
My spoon (used like a lever when held in my hand)
My bottle opener (the kind that pokes holes in a large juice can)
My nutcracker (a different kind of lever)
My trashcan (with the foot lever lid)

Other things that are fun to do is:

1. Get a ruler and something to set it on (like a lego or a block eraser or something like that) and try to balance one nickel on one end and a bunch of nickels (we got over 20) on the other end. You have to move the balancing point (fulcrum) to balance it.

2. Get a jug of water and tie it to a rope and have it go over a pipe, broomstick or other horizontal and strong "stick" and you have a pulley. Is it easier to lift? How about when you have two sticks (pipes, broomsticks) and you thread it around a few times. You have to pull more distance but less effort.

3. Similar to that one, get two broomsticks and tie the rope to one of them. Have a student hold this broomstick. Then, have another student hold another broom and make the rope go around that other stick, so it's a v-shape. Have a third student pull on the rope and see if the puller can pull the other two students together (who are resisting being pulled). The puller probably can't. BE CAREFUL as this needs lots of room and the kids have to work to not lose their balance. Now, wrap the rope around the broomstick a few more times so that it goes back and forth several times. Now the puller can easily bring the two students holding the broomsticks together. Point out that it's similar to how shoes are laced (how many kids have laced shoes these days though?).

Just some ideas off the top of my head. Our library has some fun projects and activities.
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field trip
Old 02-09-2008, 07:08 PM
 
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When we get near the end of simple machines, we take a field trip to the school kitchen and the school custodial office. I set up ahead of time with some of the workers to explain some of the tools they use at work and we look for simple machines they may use around our school or preparing food. That way the kids can see some simple machines that are used everyday.
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Neat ideas
Old 02-10-2008, 02:44 PM
 
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Thank you for the ideas! I think I will bring in several items from my kitchen and then have them take a little field trip to the lunch room to compare! Thanks again!
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simple machines
Old 02-17-2008, 09:59 AM
 
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Loved your ideas! Wish I had looked here sooner. We just completed our unit, but I've printed your ideas to put in our folder for next year. Thanks!


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Old 02-17-2008, 12:45 PM
 
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My team's science teacher does a cute activity with simple machines. He explains each of the machines, then tells them they have to create a Rube Goldberg contraption using all of the simple machines. The contraption should "do" an ordinary task, such as washing the dishes, doing homework, making the bed, etc. The kids get really creative coming up with their ideas. Then they draw a "rough draft" which he examines to make sure they used all of the machines. They complete a final draft and color it. Then the teacher hangs them all up in the hall. It is neat to see all of their crazy ideas!
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