1 Engaging Activity
Have a lever already set up on a demo table. Use materials (like a ruler) that will allow the load (ring magnets/gram weights) to sit/balance without falling off.
The goal with the demonstration is to have students predict if they would be able to lift the load with one finger. Students should not be able to, based on where the fulcrum is placed.
Ask for volunteers to come up to the lever and lift the load using only one finger. ***The fulcrum should be as far away as possible from the load as the materials will allow.***
Ask inquisitively, "What is happening? Why can't you lift this? Is it that heavy?"
After some discussion ask if anyone has an explanation as to why the load cannot be lifted? If the students have not yet suggesting moving the fulcrum closer to the load, suggest a design change. Explain that they have been using a simple machine called a lever and that there are others they will explore and see how they can make work seem easier.
2 Direct Instruction
Assign students the exploration in their Discovery Education Techbook account--"Types of Simple Machines"
Read and view resources in the explore tab:
Collect data using provided worksheet at:
3 Guided Practice
Have students solve the 4th grade "Energy & Motion" mystery #9: What would life be like without machines?"
4 Independent Practice-Presentation
In this Hands-On Activity, students will work in small groups and use the available materials to build a simple machine. You should conduct this activity after students are already familiar with the six types of simple machines. Divide the class into six equal groups. Give each group of students a box containing the above supplies. The supplies are designed to help students build all of the simple machines. They will need to innovate more for some machines than for others. Along with the materials, assign groups one of the six machines: lever, inclined plane, wheel, pulley, wedge, or screw. Students must then determine which supplies are best for building that machine. Allow them to brainstorm and work together to build the machine. After all groups have built a machine, have each group present their work to the class. They should describe their machine and how it functions, and discuss how they built it.
Students complete a brief constructed-response to further demonstrate their understanding.
Using the Curiosity Machine resource, students looking for further challenges and explorations in the world of engineering will love these exercises. This resource can be used as an extension, challenge or later review of machine concepts.
Key Standards Supported
Interpreting Categorical And Quantitative Data
Represent data with plots on the real number line (dot plots, histograms, and box plots).
Use statistics appropriate to the shape of the data distribution to compare center (median, mean) and spread (interquartile range, standard deviation) of two or more different data sets.
Interpret differences in shape, center, and spread in the context of the data sets, accounting for possible effects of extreme data points (outliers).
Use the mean and standard deviation of a data set to fit it to a normal distribution and to estimate population percentages. Recognize that there are data sets for which such a procedure is not appropriate. Use calculators, spreadsheets, and tables to estimate areas under the normal curve.
Summarize categorical data for two categories in two-way frequency tables. Interpret relative frequencies in the context of the data (including joint, marginal, and conditional relative frequencies). Recognize possible associations and trends in the data.
Represent data on two quantitative variables on a scatter plot, and describe how the variables are related.
Fit a function to the data; use functions fitted to data to solve problems in the context of the data. Use given functions or choose a function suggested by the context. Emphasize linear, quadratic, and exponential models.
Informally assess the fit of a function by plotting and analyzing residuals.
Fit a linear function for a scatter plot that suggests a linear association.
Interpret the slope (rate of change) and the intercept (constant term) of a linear model in the context of the data.
Compute (using technology) and interpret the correlation coefficient of a linear fit.
Distinguish between correlation and causation.
Measurement And Data
Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For example, draw a bar graph in which each square in the bar graph might represent 5 pets.
Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units— whole numbers, halves, or quarters.