We use machines to make our work easier,
and also to help us lift or move objects. 
Sometimes we use simple machines by themselves, 
and sometimes we combine them to create more complex machines.

A simple machine is a machine with few or no moving parts.

There are seven types of simple machines:
Wedge
Inclined Plane
Screw
Lever
Wheel and Axle
Pulley
Gears

You are going to learn all about simple machines,  and have a lot of fun at the same time!

 
1. Read the chart below to learn a little about simple machines. 
2. Go to Ed Head's and learn more while playing a game!
3. Fill in this worksheet with the information you found.
4. Leonardo da Vinci was a fascinating scientist, inventor and artist. He was fascinated by simple machines. He thought that by understanding how each separate machine part worked, he could modify them and combine them in different ways to improve them or to create new inventions. Try to figure out Leonardo's Mysterious Machinery!
5. If you want to learn more about simple machines, go to The Simple Machines Construction Site.
6. Want more fun? Visit the wacky Rube Goldberg Gallery to see unusual ways to use simple machines!


 
Machine
Definition
Examples
Wedge
Logger
A wedge consists of two back-to-back inclined planes. A wedge looks like an inclined plane but it works differently. It can either hold things together, as in a doorstop or nail, or it can split things apart, as in an axe or chisel. 
Doorstop, Nail, Axe, Chisel, Dart, Knife, Thumbtack, Jackhammer, Zipper,
Screwdriver
Inclined Plane Ski jump

An inclined plane is a ramp. It helps us to move heavy objects more easily. We use less force but we have to apply the force over a greater distance. Friction is one problem encountered in using a ramp to move heavy objects. 

Stairs, Handicap Ramps,
Truck Loading Ramps, Bottom of a Bath Tub
Screw
Lightbulb
 A screw is an inclined plane wound about a cylinder or shaft. The ridges are called the thread of a screw.  The inclined plane allows the screw to move itself or to move an object or material surrounding it when rotating. To remove a screw you have to turn in the opposite direction with a screwdriver. It is very difficult to remove a screw by pulling it straight out. 
Screws, Corkscrews
Spiral Slides, Spiral Staircase
Lever
Seesaw
 The lever is a bar that turns on a point called a fulcrum. Any tool that pries something loose is a lever. Pushing down on one end of a lever results in the upward motion of the opposite end of the fulcrum.
Seesaw, Hockey Stick,
Snow Shovel, Wheelbarrow, Baseball Bat, Hammer
Wheel and Axle

Skateboard

 A wheel and axle is really two machines in one. In one way it can help roll something along. Wheels cut down on the amount of friction between what you are trying to move and the surface you're pulling it against. A wheel and axle is also like a level in the round. A door knob or a faucet on a sink are really round levels and the "fulcrum" is in the middle where the axle turns.
Bicycles,  Tires,
Skateboards, Steering Wheel, Door Knob
Pulley
Pulley
 Pulleys are wheels with grooves around the rim. This groove is for a rope or belt to move around the pulley. Pulling down on the rope can lift an object attached to the rope. Work is made easier because pulling down on the rope is made easier due to gravity.
Cranes, Flag Poles, Sailboats, Mini-blinds
Gears
 

Gears

Gears are one way to transfer motion from one place to another. They work together in groups of two or more. One gear turns another, which may turn another, and so on. Gears are measured by counting the number of teeth they have. When the teeth of two gears fit together and one gear turns, it will cause the other gear to turn, but in the opposite direction. In any pair of gears the larger one will rotate more slowly than the smaller one, but will rotate with greater force.
Clocks, Bicycles, VCR, Grandfather Clocks


Play Blueprint from Teagames!

Check this out! (Make sure your sound is on!)

Look at this Honda ad!

Try Tinkertoy: Inventions At Play

 


Created By Jill Dembsky
Updated 9/2006
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