Lesson Plan

Playing with Simple Machines

A hands-on understanding of physics, engineering, and motion.
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Arts

Students will be able to...

• apply basic lever principles to real world scenarios.

• construct a simple or compound machine.

• explain how a basic lever works.

Grades 5
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Have students consider a problem that could be solved by a simple or compound machine. Use Popplet to brainstorm ideas. Examples of problems are how to crack an egg, how to turn on a fan, or how to scratch your own back. Project a couple of Rube Goldberg cartoons for the class for inspiration. 

2 Direct Instruction

Show Design Squad Nation’s "Chain Reaction Machine" video. Kids can get inspiration and procedural tips to help them get started building their own Rube Goldberg machines. In the video kids build simple machines, run into issues, iterate, and create a successful Rube Goldberg machine.

3 Guided Practice

Activity: Creating — Create a Rube Goldberg Machine

In a collaborative group, have students apply basic physics principles to create a Rube Goldberg machine that performs a task. Some example tasks might include crack an egg, turn on a fan, dispense a treat, or turn off the light.

4 Independent Practice

Students will use Educreations to create a tutorial about how and why the group’s machine worked. They can annotate photos of their machine with narration or text.

5 Wrap-Up

Students extend the learning at home by solving contraption-building puzzles with the Rube Works app.