- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
Simple machines are all around us. Yet most people eating spaghetti with a fork or turning a doorknob rarely stop to think about just how important devices like levers and wheels really are!
Objects like robots, bulldozers, and bicycles may take center stage in the mechanical world, but the truth of the matter is that six simple machines — in use for literally thousands of years — are far more important in our daily lives. Check out these places on the Internet for wonderful insights into the world of simple machines, plus easy-to-conduct, hands-on activities for students of all ages.
Dirtmeister's Science Reporters: Simple Machines
Modesty prevents me from saying we've saved the best for first, but if you want to "dig deep" into simple machines without even leaving Scholastic, then go to "Dirtmeister's Science Reporters." Here kids get "down and dirty" with simple machines. Students can report on a simple machine that they find around their own homes or schools. There's ample background for students and a Teacher's Guide to make lesson planning easy for you. Enjoy the site and may the force be with you!
Inventor's Toolbox: The Elements of Machines
Not only does this Museum of Science-sponsored site do an excellent job of presenting background on simple machines concisely, but click on "Gadget Anatomy" for a super lesson on the use of simple machines.
Marvelous Machines: Table of Contents
Looking for a good set of simple lessons on simple machines? Then this is simply the site for you! You are presented with a menu of 21 different hands-on activities, including ones on pulleys, wheels, levers, and inclined planes. Clicking on any of the lesson choices gives you the full activity along with the materials needed to complete the lesson.
InQuiry Almanack: Simple Machines
A great overview is offered in one-paragraph descriptions of simple machines, followed by quick links to related Web sites. It's well worth a look if you want to bone up on your background!