Learning Labs


Simple Machines

Students investigate how simple machines work using large-scale examples, and then test their knowledge to complete a challenge using levers, pulleys, inclined planes and more.

About the lab

  • Grades: 3-5
  • Capacity: 30 students
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Cost: $120
  • Offered Tuesday through Friday at 10:15 and 11:45 a.m.

Next Generation Science Standards

Science and Engineering Practices:

Asking questions
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Constructing explanations
Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Crosscutting Concepts:

Cause and effect
Systems and system models

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

PS 2: Motion and stability: forces and interactions

Illinois Learning Standards

4: A, B; 5: A, B, C; 7: B, C; 10: A, B; 11: A, B; 12: C, D; 13: A, B

Lab goals

Students will:

  • Recognize the six simple machines: wheel and axle, lever, pulley, inclined plane, wedge and screw.
  • Identify how distance affects force used in each simple machine.
  • Understand a connection between ideas explored and simple machines in the real world.
  • Be actively engaged in hands-on science investigation.
  • Share Learning Lab-generated thoughts/ideas/questions with peers and program facilitators.
  • Develop questions about simple machines and how they work.
  • Make inferences from hands-on experiments with simple machines.