Simple Machines Unit for Primary Grades

 

This unit is ©Copyright 2004, 2010 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved. Permission is given to homeschooling parents to use these units free of charge in their own homeschool only. These units may not be reprinted in any other form, for any other purpose (commercial or otherwise) without permission from Cindy Downes. Contact her at cindy@oklahomahomeschool.com.

Six Week Unit - Twelve Lessons

This unit is designed to be completed in six weeks, completing two, 1 - 2 hour lessons per week; however, you can customize it to any length, depending upon how much material you cover and how long you take to cover it. Read over General Directions for Cindy's Unit Studies for information on how to teach the unit. To prepare yourself for this unit, print out and read through “Simple Machines.”

Textbooks Needed:

Simple Machines -ScienceWorks (Listed as SSSW below.) Even though this workbook is written for grades 1-3, the worksheets can be used with most primary-age students. These worksheets should be done orally with students in grades 1 - 3 who are struggling with handwriting. Don't use it as a handwriting lesson! Additional, grade-level work can be added to older children by incorporating writing projects and other unit project activities, as well as the activities included below.

For $ .99 you can download this song that will reinforce this unit especially for your Auditory Learners: Levers, Pulleys And Simple Machines [Music Download] [Music Download].

See below for Additional Study Recommendations.

Family Reading Book Suggestion:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

Eyewitness Classics: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. Audio book and eBook. There are many editions of this book available. If you want to use this as a read aloud and increase their vocabulary, use an unabridged version. If you prefer a story with lots of illustrations (for your Visual Learner), use a video. Find a condensed version that is easier read for younger children.

Simple Machines Introduction (PDF).

Lesson 1: Introduction

How Do You Lift a Lion? by Robert E. Wells (ISBN 0807534218) Excellent intro to simple machines for primary grades.

SSSW: Reproduce pg. 3-5 for Individual Science Logbooks. Instructions on Pg. 2.

SSSW: Complete pg. 11 and place in logbook.

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Internet, the History of Simple Machines.

Independent Reading Suggestions:

    Cool Tools by Alison Auch. An introduction to simple machines. 24 pgs. Illust. Gr K-1. ISBN 0756502306.

    Simple Machines (Rookie Read-About Science) by Allan Fowler. A Rookie Reader. ISBN 0516273108. Gr K-3.

    Exploring Machines, Buildings, & Weaponry of Biblical Times by Max Schwartz. This fascinating book takes students back to Biblical times to explore machines, buildings and weapons. Boys will love this. ISBN 0529117940. Grades 6-12.

    Champions of Invention by John Tiner. Short biographies about great inventors: Gutenberg, James Watt, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Morse, Michael Faraday, Joseph Henry, William Thompson, Thomas Edison, and Charles Babbage. The reason I recommend this book is because John Tiner includes information about how their spiritual life affected their inventions. An excellent resource for your home library. ISBN 0890512787. Interest level: Gr 3-12. Reading level: 5+ Just Plain

Fun: Simple Machines Game.

Lesson 2: What is Work?

Read: Machines and How They Work by Harvey Weiss. An introduction to six simple machines--the lever, the inclined plane, the screw, the wheel and axle, the wedge, and the pulley--and their use in more complex machines such as derricks, bulldozers, and metal lathes. ISBN 0690043007.

SSSW: Assign four household jobs to your children. Fill in the names of these jobs on pg. 12. Complete pg. 12 as Jobs in Our “Home”

Read SSSW, A Push is a Force, pg. 8, to yourself. Explain "work" to your children.

SSSW: Complete Check for Understanding, pg. 9, 13

SSSW: Complete Work at My House, pg. 14

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Simple Machines by Cosi (Requires Flash)

Independent Reading Suggestions:

Lesson 3: Some Jobs Take More Work Than Other Jobs

Read: What Holds It Together? by Harvey Weiss. Examines different ways that separate parts can be held together to make larger, stronger, or more complicated structures. ISBN 0316928887.

SSSW: Complete Activities pg, 16-17

SSSW: Complete pg. 19

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Internet: How Bicycles Work.

Independent Reading Suggestions:

Amazing Bikes written by Trevor Lord. ISBN: 0679827722.

Bicycle Safety by Lucia Raatma. Don't forget to mark this as a safety lesson also! ISBN: 1592960855.

Bikes for Rent! by Isaac Olaleye. Lateef, a poor young boy living in a village in western Nigeria, works hard so he can save enough money to rent a bicycle and ride with the other boys. Gr. K-2. ISBN 0531302903

Bikes: From Start to Finish by Mindi Rose Englart. Focuses on the Cannondale bicycle factory in Bedford, PA, and its daily operations. ISBN 1567114865.

Lesson 4: Machines Make Work Easier

Read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Burton. PreK-3. ISBN 0395259398.

SSSW: Read pg. 20 using pictures from pgs. 23 & 24.

SSSW: Do activities on pg. 21 (materials needed-nuts, yarn, scrap fabric, 2 unfrosted cake layers)

SSSW: (opt) Do Moving a Classmate on pg. 22 (wagon, large cardboard box)

SSSW: Complete pg. 26, Making Work Easier at Home

Lab: For real hands-on instruction, purchase a Simple Machines Kit or make your own.

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Video: Biography - Sir Isaac Newton (1998) by A&E video. Check your library or purchase online. Gr 6+

Video: Newton: A Tale of Two Isaacs. Inventor's Special series. Devine Entertainment Corporation, c1999. Starring Karl Pruner and Tyrone Savage. At the Royal Academy in 1683, Isaac Newton's theories on celestial movements and gravity create an uproar. Newton and his young assistant, Humphrey, fight to change how the universe is perceived while Humphrey learns that even the greatest men must overcome personal hardships to achieve success. Check your library or purchase online. Gr. 3+

Internet, Isaac Newton Biography.

Independent Reading Suggestions:

    The Ocean of Truth: The Story of Sir Isaac Newton by Joyce McPherson. Sir Isaac Newton is one of history’s most renowned scientists. He independently developed the mathematical techniques known as Calculus, wrote a treatise on the properties of light and color that is still consulted by scientists, and worked out the mathematical details of the Law of Gravity. What is less well known is the depth of his Christian faith and the amount of writing, speaking, and research that he put into a defense of the tenets of Biblical theology. ISBN 1882514505. Read aloud for all ages. Gr. 5+

    Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion by Andrea Gianopoulos. Gr. 3+

    Isaac Newton, Sower Series by John Tiner. Gr. 3-8 or read aloud for all ages. ISBN: 0915134950.

Lesson 5: Machines may have few, many or no moving parts.

SSSW: Show children various tools and machines. (ideas pg. 27)

SSSW: Do activities on pg. 27, Machines and Their Moving Parts.

SSSW: Complete Machines and Their Moving Parts, pg. 31

SSSW: Have your child interview someone who uses a machine and complete the Interview worksheet, pg. 32

SSSW: Have your child create a poster of a machine. Idea pg. 29.

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Video: Bill Nye the Science Guy: Simple Machines. 26 min. all ages. Check your library.

Internet: How Pendulum clock's work.

Internet: History of clocks.

Independent Reading Suggestions:

    Clocks and More Clocks by Pat Hutchins. Not one of Mr. Higgins' four clocks kept the correct time until the Clockmaker assured him they were all correct. ISBN 0027459217. K-4.

    The Clock by Trent Duffy. 80 pgs. A history of time measurement and the effect of the clock on the Industrial Revolution. ISBN 0689828144. Gr. 5+

    Make Your Own Working Paper Clock by James Rudolph. Cut this book into 160 pieces, glue them together, and have a paper clock operated by weights that keeps perfect time and can be rewound and regulated. ISBN 0060910666.

Lesson 6: The Lever

Read: Levers by John Tiner. 24 pgs. I like this author because of his Christian slant. PreK-3. ISBN 1583401350.

Read: What is a Lever? by Lloyd G. Douglas. 24 pgs. illus. Simple text. ISBN 0516240226, K-6

SSSW: Read Lesson overview pg. 33-34 as information for yourself. Discuss the parts of a lever: fulcrum (turning point on which the lever moves), effort (where pressure is applied to create movement), load (holds the object being moved).

SSSW: Do activities on page. 35-38 (Levers)

SSSW: Complete worksheets, pg. 40-41

Internet, Three classes of levers.

Discuss first class levers (fulcrum is located between the effort and the load such as a seesaw), second class levers (load is located between the effort and the fulcrum such as wheelbarrow or nutcracker), and third class levers (the effort is located between the load and the fulcrum such as stapler and rake).

Let your children find as many levers as they can in your home and identify as first, second, or third class levers. Have them identify the effort, load and fulcrum of each.

Have students create a page in their logbook for the lever. Draw a picture of a lever, tell what job it does, label the fulcrum, force arm, and load arm, and name some complex machines that include it.

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Lab: For real hands-on instruction, purchase a Simple Machines Kit or make your own.

Internet: Levers.

Independent Reading Suggestions:

Lesson 7: Wheel and Axle, Gears

Read: Wheels and Axles by John Tiner. 24 pgs. I like this author because of his Christian slant. ISBN 1583401377.

Read: What is a Wheel and Axle? by Lloyd G. Douglas. 24 pgs. illus. Simple text. ISBN 0516240277.

book - gears

SSSW: Do activities on Wheel, Axle, & Gears, pg. 42-46

SSSW: Complete worksheet, pg. 48

Let your children find as many wheel and axles as they can in your home.

Have students create a page in their logbook for the wheel and axle. Draw a picture, label the wheel and the axle, tell what job it does, and name some complex machines that include it.

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Lab: For real hands-on instruction, purchase a Simple Machines Kit or make your own.

Lab: Get in Gear Kit (published by Innovative Kids), check local educational or book stores. 3-6+

Internet, Wheel and Axle.

Internet: Read about wheel and axle and gears.

Independent Reading Suggestions:

Lesson 8: Pulley

Read: Pulleys by John Tiner. 24 pgs. I like this author because of his Christian slant. ISBN 1583401369.

What is a Pulley? by Lloyd G. Douglas. 24 pgs. illus. Simple text. K-6. ISBN 0516240242.

SSSW: Do activities on Pulley, pg. 49- 54

Let your children find as many pulleys as they can in your home.

Have students create a page in their logbook for the pulley. Draw a picture, tell what job it does, and name some complex machines that include it.

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Lab: For real hands-on instruction, purchase a Simple Machines Kit or make your own.

Internet, Pulley.

Internet: Read about pulleys and more pulleys.

Video: What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? produced by Big Kids Productions, Inc. A variety of construction equipment is shown in action, including cranes, dump trucks, and earth movers. ISBN 1885627009. Check your library.

Independent Reading Suggestions:

    Big Machines by Melanie Davis Jones. 23 pgs. Rookie Reader. A simple introduction to big machines--tractors, backhoes, pavers, and cranes--and how they work. PreK-4. ISBN 0516278290.

    How Can I Experiment With a Pulley? by David Armentrout. 32 pgs. Lots of color illustrations. Information and experiments for Gr. 1-6. ISBN 1589523350.

    Cranes by Hal Rogers. 24 pgs. Describes the parts of a crane, how it works, and the work it does at a construction site. ISBN 1567666515. PreK-4.

Lesson 9: Inclined Plane

Read: Inclined Planes by John Tiner. 24 pgs. I like this author because of his Christian slant. ISBN 1583401385.

Read: What is a Plane? by Lloyd G. Douglas. 24 pgs. illus. Simple text. ISBN 0516240234.

book - screw

SSSW: Create an inclined plane as suggested on top of page 55

SSSW: Complete worksheet, Inclined Plane Challenges, on pg. 59

SSSW: Explore a spiral incline plane, pg. 56 & 60

SSSW: Let your children find as many inclined planes as they can in your home. Complete worksheet, Inclined Planes Around Me, pg. 61

Have students create a page in their logbook for the inclined plane. Draw a picture, tell what job it does, and name some complex machines that include it.

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Lab: For real hands-on instruction, purchase a Simple Machines Kit or make your own.

Internet, Inclined Plane.

Internet: Read about inclined plane and wedge.

Video: Playground Fun by Disney. Huey, Dewey and Louie visit the playground at Mickey's Safety Clubhouse to produce a video about playground safety. First they review some basics like no pushing, no jumping off high places etc., and then check their surroundings for dangers such as old cans or broken glass. They discuss the safe way to use the slide and merry-go-round. Don't forget to mark this as a safety lesson also! Gr 1-6. Check your library.

Independent Reading Suggestions:

    Inclined Planes and Wedges by Sally Walker. 48 pgs. Illus. An Early Bird Physics Book for Gr 1-6. ISBN 0822522152.

    Chicken Chickens by Valeri Gorbachev. On their first visit to a playground, two little chickens are afraid to play until a beaver helps them go down the slide. ISBN 0735815410.

Lesson 10: Screw

Read: What is a Screw? by Lloyd G. Douglas. 24 pgs. illus. Simple text. ISBN 0516240250.

Demonstrate types of screws (screws, Vise, screw-type tire jack, corkscrew, jar lid, C Clamp)

SSSW: Let your children find as many screws as they can in your home. Complete worksheet, pg. 65, Search for Screws

Have students create a page in their logbook for the screw. Draw a picture, tell what job it does, and name some complex machines that include it.

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Internet, Screw.

Internet: Read about the screw.

Video: The Way Things Work-Screws. A Millimages, Pearson Broadband and Schlessinger Media based on the book. Gr 3-6. In Screws, the Islanders create a giant screw out of a tower by building a ramp around it. Check library.

Independent Reading Suggestions:

    How Can I Experiment With a Screw? by David Armentrout. 32 pgs. Lots of color illustrations. Information and experiments for Gr. 1-6. ISBN 1589523369.

    Screws by Angela Royston. 32 pgs. Gr. 2-4. Examines the different types of screws and how they are used in the world around us-in jar lids, nuts and bolts, drills and borers, and aircraft propellers. ISBN 1575723220.

Lesson 11: Wedge

Read: What is a Wedge? by Lloyd G. Douglas. 24 pgs. illus. Simple text. K-6. ISBN 0516240269 .

Demonstrate how a knife cutting bread is a wedge. Demonstrate examples of other wedges: chisel, screwdriver, nail, ax, saw, needle, tooth, hoe, pickax, scissors, and razor blade. (See SSSW, pages 67-68 for ideas.)

SSSW: Let your children find as many wedges as they can in your home. Complete worksheet, Find the Wedges, pg. 70

Have students create a page in their logbook for the wedge. Draw a picture, tell what job it does, and name some complex machines that include it.

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Internet, Wedge.

Review: Complete the activity on pg. 71-73

Independent Reading Suggestions:

    How Can I Experiment With a Wedge? by David Armentrout. 32 pgs. Lots of color illustrations. Information and experiments for Gr. 1-6. ISBN 1589523377.

    The Wedge by David Armentrout. Text and pictures introduce the wedge, a simple machine placed between objects to split, tighten, or secure a hold. ISBN 1589525973.

Lesson 12: Complex Machines. All Machines are made up of one or more simple machines.

Read through pgs. 71-72 for your own information.

Show your children an eggbeater and how to analyze it for simple machines. Pg. 72.

Show a can opener, a bottle opener, a broom and dustpan, a tape dispenser, a pair of scissors and have your children analyze them for simple machines.

Field Trip: take your children to a factory. Have them take a blank notebook and pen with them as they go through the factory. As they go through the factory, help them discover what types of machines are used in the process of creating, packaging, storing, and shipping the products. Then have them draw pictures of these machines or write a description. Have them list the simple machines used in each complex machine.

Add composition projects and other activities as needed.

Explore Inventor's Toolbox.

Internet: Simple Machine Quiz.

Internet: Simple Machine Review and Quizzes.

Internet: What in the World is That? Ingenious Inventions.

For Additional Study or Review:

For additional hands-on activities: Simple Machines - Hands-On Series. This resource includes lots of hands-on activities for your Kinesthetic Learner that could be incorporated with this unit as needed. In addition to working with gears, wheels, levers, etc., your child will work with turbines, simple motors, compound machines, communication, morse code, and much more.

Optional Hands-on Activities: Science Experiments with Simple Machines by Sally Nankivell-Aston. 32 pgs. Color illus. A collection of easy experiments that WILL work! Most of what you need is probably in your home. A few experiments need inexpensive equipment such as a Spring Scale - 100g Metric (approx $6) or Pulley - Single (approx $1.50) which can be purchased from educational stores. or purchase K'NEX EDUCATION Intro to Simple Machines: Levers and Pulleys-178 pcs as a kit.

Review Game: Gadget Anatomy.

For review, have students create a Venn Diagram of two machines, listing their similarities and differences.

Machine Scavenger Hunt. Hang a 13 foot long sheet of butcher paper around the room. Divide the paper in half horizontally with a line. Divide each half vertically into 13 sections each 1 foot wide. You should have 26 boxes or areas. Label each area with one letter of the alphabet - A through Z. Have your children draw or paste pictures (cut from magazines) of machines the begin with each letter of the alphabet.

Internet: Optional Labs for Simple Machines.

Do a study on Newton's Laws of Motion. Resource #1. Resource #2.

For further reading: Physics Lab in a Hardware Store by Bob Friedhoffer. 112 pgs. Explains the principles behind sandpaper and screws, wheelbarrows and wrenches, hatchets and hammers. Learn why scissors cut, how to fix a creaking door, and what a ladder and an axe have in common. Gr. 5th+ ISBN 0531158233.

Be sure to enter these topics on your copy of The Checklist.

Please let me know if any of these links do not work. Email: cindy@oklahomahomeschool.com.

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Copyright © 2004 - by Cindy Downes