Lesson Plan

Simple Machines

James T.
Classroom teacher
Saint Benedict Prep, Chicago, Illinois
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
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Students will be able to...

Use specific language to describe and show understanding of the 6 different simple machines

Create a complex machine to accomplish a task of their choice

Complete a videogame using simple machines


Grades 3 - 5
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 HOOK - STEM Challenge

Activity: Creating

Begin this unit with a STEM Challenge. The challenge is; to create a machine that have a marble ring a bell.  The students are able to use any of their school materials. Many students will use the following;

Pencils and Pens
Folded paper

The only material the teacher will need to supply is a marble (any ball) and a bell. 

Before you give them the ball and marble, have the students group up and then write a detailed plan with a picture to follow as a guideline. 

During the students construction, walk around the class and take pictures, and notice some of the simple machines the students are making without trying.  You can later input those pictures into a PowerPoint and use your students machine as an example.


Display the game, Simple Machines, on the smartboard.

Have the students, using precise language, guide you through the levels utilizing the simple machines in order to complete the level. When students finish each level, the game teaches more about that level's machine, showing how to make good choices that require less force. Take the whole game in chunks and then focus on only a few simple machines a day. 


After completing a couple of levels on "Simple Machines" start direct instruction using PowerPoint. During the PowerPoint students will need to take notes, and participate during the quick experiments throughout the presentation. The experiments will be using materials the students already have at school.

To better help students understand the important vocabulary associated with simple machines, have them practice Quizlet  as homework.


To wrap up the lesson, have students create a complex machine using at least 3 simple machines to complete a task. review the rubric, and show students what you will be looking for, but other than that leave it up to them to choose what they will create.

Be sure to walk around and help students test prototypes and ask questions to help the students move along. Set up checkpoints throughout the unit to have students monitor their progress.

In the end, have students explain their simple machine, it purpose, the different types of machines and how the work. Have them use the vocabulary learned within the lesson as much as possible

Video tape the final product by each student and then assess it according to the rubric.