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Learning Labs


Simple Machines

Students investigate how simple machines work using small- and large-scale examples, and make comparisons between different configurations of each type.

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:

  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect
  • Systems and system models

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

PS 2: Motion and stability: forces and interactions

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.
  • Actively engage 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.