Content Background
Student Preparation
Content Strands
Process Strands
Benchmarks and Performance Standards
Content Maps
Content Outline
Performance Tasks
Rubrics for Performance Tasks
Instructional Activities
Materials and Resources
Web Links
Georgia Quality Core Curriculum References
Iowa Tests of Basic Skills References
References to National Standards
  Days 6 & 7 
Objective:   To provide activities to introduce the simple machines:  lever and inclined plane. 

Materials: large board, brick, pencils, ruler, dictionary, variety of objects to push or pull down an inclined plane, hand trucks and a variety of levers, chart paper, pulleys 

Large group science activity:  

  • Provide a large board and a brick. 
  • Ask students to come up in small groups to predict and experiment ways to lift the teacher. 
  • Discuss this process as using a lever. 
  • Write the terms on the board and discuss meanings.   
Center activities:  
Explain and demonstrate each center activity and allow students to explore each center. 
  • Center 1: Getting a Little Leverage.  Provide three rulers made into a triangle.  Ask students to predict best way to lift a large dictionary with the connected rulers.  Show how to move fulcrum to change ease of operation.   

  • Center 2:- Keep on Truckin'.  Use hand trucks and different items to move up an inclined plane such as a wheel chair ramp.  Ask students to explain how this simple machine makes work easier (because the load is moved over a greater distance, less force is needed).  

  • Center 3: Roll With It.   Use a variety of objects to push or roll down an inclined plane. Use different fulcrums to note difference. 

  • Center 4: Moving to New Heights.  Move the inclined plane to different heights to note ease of operation. Have students predict and then check to see what type of inclined planes are the easiest and most difficult to move up.  Ask students to use what they learned to make generalizations about ramps for wheel chairs. 

  • Center 5:  Our Levers Have Class. Provide different kinds of levers for students to discuss uses: teeter totter, nutcracker, broom, and shovel.  Ask students to discuss and write uses of the lever. 

  • Center 6: Build a Lever.  Provide materials for students to create levers and inclined planes.  Ask students to describe uses of their simple machines. 
Language arts connection:  
  • Ask students to write about their center experiences. 
Social studies connection:  
  • Present the use of the inclined plane by ancient Egyptians in building the pyramids. 
  • Briefly discuss the civilization and locate it on the map or globe. 
Math and science connections: 
  • Have students work in small groups to construct a playground for the Littles. 
  • Review how gravity, force, and friction all play a role in making these items work. 
Language arts activity:  
  • Read and discuss chapter five and six of the novel.  Point out that the bicycle uses a wheel and axle. 
  • Ask students to use their "junk items" to create a trash city.  
Fine arts connection: 
  • Explain why people use simple machines (to make work easier). 
  • Tell students that long ago when people had to work together to complete a task such as rowing or laying a railroad they would often sing to help everyone to move together rhythmically.  Some rowing teams still chant as they row. 
  • Have students listen to some of these rhythmic chants. 
  • Discuss what simple machines were used to lay the railroad track and how music helped to accomplish the task. 
  • Extend this activity by having students develop their own rhythmic pattern. 
To determine student assessment about knowledge of levers, ask each group to fill in a chart such as the one below: 
A Hundred Ways to Lever Your Lever
Best Tool
 Where is the Force Applied? 
Nail Puller    
Open the Can     
Uplifting Levers    
  Day 8 
Objective:  To provide activities to introduce concepts about the wheel and axle.  

Materials: chart paper, string, markers, The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss 

Large group activity: 

  • Have one student attempt to pull another student in a chair without wheels. 
  • Then have the same student to push another student (of about the same size and weight) seated in a chair with wheels. 
  • Discuss which child was easier to push. 
  • As a large group, brainstorm ways which way wheels make work easier . 
  • Divide students into small groups.  Give each group a piece of string. 
  • Have each group tie the string around a heavy book and drag it across their desk. 
  • Then have them place the pencils under the book and again pull it across their desk. 
  • Ask them to explain what takes less force (roller because it reduces the amount of friction). 
Social studies connection:  
  • Display pictures of Stonehenge and allow students to present the information they located with their classmates. 
  • Ask students to use what they know about simple machines to determine how these huge slabs of stone were moved into place without the use of modern machinery.  Remind them that the rollers or logs they used to move their book are similar to the wheel and axle. 
Language arts activity:  
  • Discuss and ask students to write essay about how the wheel has helped humans.
  • Make a list of the many uses of the wheel. 
  • Let the students brainstorm as the teacher makes a list on the board or chart. 
  • Include what the students KNOW about the wheel, what they WANT to know about the wheel, and what they would like to LEARN about the wheel.  (This is an example of the KWL method of teaching.) 
Language arts activity:  
  • Read and discuss chapters seven and eight of the novel.  Chapter seven uses a wedge for opening a can. It may be interesting to explain to students that the can was invented before a can opener.
  • Have students look at the can opener and see how many simple machine machines are used.  Chapter eight uses a pulley to create an elevator for the mouse alert. 
Social studies connection:  
  • Discuss the origination of the wheelbarrow in China. 
  • Briefly present geography and how the wheelbarrow originated. 
Language arts connection:   
  • Present The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss.  Discuss use of the wheelbarrow in this story.
  Day 9 
Objective:   To provide activities to introduce concepts about the wedge.  Reinforce the simple machines with continued activities.  

Materials:  kitchen tools, Doctor DeSoto by William Steig, scavenger hunt sheet, musical instruments  

Large group activity:   

  • Explain to the class that a wedge and screw are variations of the inclined plane. 
  • Show examples and discuss uses of the wedge and screw. 
  • Tell the class that in nature water frozen in a rock acts like a wedge forcing the rock to break apart and weather. 
  • Early man's first weapons were wooden spears hardened by fire.  Later people developed their skills and began working weapons out of stone.  Hand held axes were used to dig up roots, carve wood, and prepare game animals. 
  • Wedges provide an effective instrument for dividing materials because it exerts a great deal of sideward pressure in both directions as it enters an object.  Certainly, one of the most important uses for the wedge is the plow (Paul, 1983).  
Small group activity:  
  • Show and briefly discuss varied kitchen tools. 
  • Let students divide into cooperative groups to identify the simple machines and discuss uses of the kitchen tools.  
Language arts connection:  
  • Present the book Doctor DeSoto by William Steig.  The book has many simple machines including pulley and lever.  
Large group activity:  
  • Have a simple machine scavenger hunt to culminate review of the simple machines.  Let students go in pairs or small groups to list simple machines.  The classroom, school, and playground would be good locations for the hunt.  
  • Use the varied kitchen tools that are simple machines to create some cooking centers and/or a play kitchen center using the kitchen utensils.  
Language arts activity:  
  • Read and discuss the conclusion of the book.  Chapter nine involves the making of paper airplanes.  
Science connection:  
  • Discuss how a paper airplane is a type of wedge. 
  • Have students predict which will travel further: a pointed nose or flat nosed airplane. 
  • Discuss the use of the wedge to reduce friction.  
Musical connection:  
  • Have a variety of musical instruments. 
  • Ask students to identify what simple machines are present in these instruments. 
  • Make a list of each instrument and the simple machines that are evident.  
Social studies connection:  
  • Examine how wedges have aided man historically.  Examples are stone knife, arrow heads, wooden stakes to stretch hides. 
  • Ask students to list the many varied and unusual ways that wedges were used in the past. 
  • Compare this list with today's uses.
  Day 10 
Objective:  To provide activities to introduce concepts about the screw.  

Materials:  An Archimedes screw, one hand brace type drill, wood, Phillips screw drivers, flat head screw drivers, square headed screws, square headed screw drivers, a cheese ball, and a large bowl  

Large group activity:  

  • Inform the students that screws prove a strong secure method of joining materials together.  As a result of its design, which is an inclined plane wrapped around a center post, a screw can support a lot of weight.  The spiral of the inclined plane distributes the force over a greater weight. 
  • Use a student as a volunteer and butcher paper to create a screw.  Cut the paper into a large inclined plane shape and wrap the paper around the student. 
  • Discuss as a large group what a screw is and how they are used. 
  • Have students identify items in the classroom that contain a screw.  
Allow students to participate in the exploratory centers about screws.  
  • Center 1.  A twisted inclined plane-  Allow students to experiment with a variety of screws.  These items could include a car jack, swivel chair, etc. An Archimedes screw can be created by taking a two liter pop bottle and cutting off the top and bottom.  Then place this plastic cylinder on a piece of light weight cardboard and tracing the inside circle six different times and cut them out.  A paper towel will make the center of your screw so that you will need to center this tube on your cardboard circles and trace it.  Next cut straight in from the side to remove the center of your doughnut shaped rings.  After that you will need to tape these rings together to form a long spiral.  Finally secure the spiral to the paper towel tube and place it inside the clear plastic from the soda bottle.  Place this inside the cheese ball and watch them move up.  

  • Center 2.  Brace yourself-  Allow students to use different types of screws.  These could include a brace, hand drill, a variety of screws, screw drivers (flat, phillips, and square head).  
Social studies connection: 
  • Inform students that Archimedes used this invention to lift fresh water from the hold of a ship belonging to King Hiero II of Syracuse (Paull, 1983).  
  • Students may find it interesting to know that in 1908, Canadian Peter Robertson invented a square headed screw and screwdriver (Bosak, 1990).
Other Instructional Activities
Week 1
Week 3
Week 4
 This integrated unit was prepared by teachers of the:
Henry County Public Schools
396 Tomlinson Street
McDonough, Georgia 30253
Phone:  770/957-6601
 Updated 7/28/98