The 6 Simple Machines

The Inclined Plane

The inclined plane is used to push or move something up onto something or somewhere. For example a ramp on a moving truck would be used to push items from the house and on the ground up into the moving truck.

The Pulley

A pulley is used to move, raise or lower a load. A pulley is like the wheel and axle except the pulley has a rope wrapped around a wheel and attached to the load and you. As you pull down, for example on a flagpole, the load will lift up.

The Wedge

The wedge is used to split things apart or to hold something in place. A wedge is the same shape as an inclined plane just used in a different way. For example a doorstop is a wedge where when you push the point edge under the door it holds it in place.

The Lever

The lever is used to pry something out or up from something or somewhere. For example a teeter totter is a lever because it is used to push the other person up. When one person pushes down the teeter totter pivots over the point (fulcrum) and the other person lifts up.

The Screw

The screw is used to build things. The screw is like a long skinny inclined plane wrapped around a thin piece of metal. For example a building screw is used to attach different pieces of wood together. You can do this by turning the screw around and around in the wood.

The Wheel and Axle

The wheel and axle is a type of lever. It is used to move things around faster and easier. For example on a wheelbarrow the bucket is sitting on top of the axle. When you push the wheelbarrow the wheel rotates the axle causing the wheelbarrow to move.