STEAM Learning Lab – Simple Machines

Simple Machines
Ages 3 and up

Today we are learning about simple machines. Simple machines are devices with few or no moving parts that make work easier. Without the help of simple machines, a lot of the things we do would be much more difficult!

The 6 types of simple machines are: Lever, wheel and axel, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, and screw. These help us by reducing the amount of force we need to move something, which reduces our work.

Lever: A bar used for raising or moving weights, centered on a fulcrum.
Wheel and Axel: moveable object centered on a fixed point.
Pulley: One or more grooved wheels connected by a rope.
Inclined Plane: Flat surface with one edge raised higher than the other.
Wedge: An inclined plane that is thick at one end and tapers to a point on the other. Often used to separate things.
Screw: Used to raise and lower things, as well as hold things together.

What kinds of simple machines can you find around you? You might see them at a playground or in your home. A great example is a bike! Bicycles are a good place to find several simple machines! Many of our more complex tools and machines are actually just combinations of simple machines.

Try going on a simple machine scavenger hunt and see how many you can find!

More Fun:

You can also make your own example of a simple machine.
- Wheel and Axel: paper plates and straws
- Pulley: empty ribbon or tape spool and string
- Inclined Plane: any flat object that you can turn into a ramp

What other kinds of simple machines can you make?

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