Focus: In this unit, students will identify simple machines—the ramp (inclined plane), wheel and axle, pulley, lever, wedge, screw, and gears. Students will explore where these devices are found and experience how they can make a given task easier. Students will also learn that simple machines are combined to make compound machines, which themselves can be familiar and be operated simply.
Students are familiar with several simple machines through exposure in day-to-day life. Students understand that they can move things on wheels, but they probably have not considered that wheels are attached to axles and that when one turns, so does the other. Nor have they considered how a wheel and axle can make a task easier. Students have certainly experienced inclined planes but likely have never considered how a ramp contributes to the ease of lifting something upward.
In this unit, students investigate with simple machines to solve a problem. They will further explore forces in Grade 3 Unit 1 Investigating Forces.
Students explore concepts that include the following:
- Identify examples of things people use to perform tasks with less effort.
- Describe and identify simple machine: ramp, wheel, pulley, level, wedge, screw, and gears
- Distinguish between a simple and compound machine
- Explain how each simple machine works.
- Identify tasks for which simple machines are helpful.
- Define a problem that can be solved with the use of simple machines and collaborate to solve an engineering design problem.
Number of Lessons: 10
- Lesson time: Most Core Lessons constitute one classroom session of thirty to forty-five minutes. Some lessons cover two or three days of instruction. Some single-day activities and performance tasks might require setting aside a longer block of time.
- Lesson order: The lessons are coherently sequenced to build from one to the next, linking student engagement across lessons and helping students build new learning on prior knowledge.
- Because Simple Machines is not designed to support any specific NGSS Performance Expectation, the instructional episodes are not grouped into multipart lessons. As such, they are identified simply as lessons instead of lesson segments.
- Please note that a Pacing Guide is provided within the Teacher Guide so teachers can map out customized instructional days for this unit.
Additional Search Terms:
• work • effort • simple machine • ramp • axle • wheel • pulley • catapult • lever • arm • fulcrum • screw • wedge • gear • compound machine • nonfiction • informational text