Simple Machines

7th Grade Science

Essential Standard

7.P.2.4 Explain how simple machines such as inclined planes, pulleys, levers and wheel and axels are used to create mechanical advantage and increase efficiency.
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Picture Book

This picture book would be a great choice to use in an introductory lesson on simple machines. It shows kids doing everyday things that they are familiar with (not just skateboarding as shown on the cover), and how inclined planes and ramps are effective, in helping us do work.

Article; Informational Text

A Not-So-Simple Machine (2011)

This article would be an interesting quick read to students. The contest centers around creating an elaborate, complicated machine, that can perform a simple task, in this case, the task is watering a plant. The elaborate machine is made up of a bunch of smaller, simple machines. There are a few pictures to go along with the article. This is something that would be a great, quick read during teacher input. To continue with this, finding a video that has some of the action from this particular contest, would be the cherry on top!


This video is amazing, but it is just over 20 minutes long, so it would need to be broken up, over the course of a science unit that covers simple machines. The video covers many vocabulary terms in regards to simple machines; it has Bill Nye explaining directional force and other terms, using actual objects; it also has kids explaining vocabulary terms relating to the standard and performing activities that coincide with those terms; it has a small catapult that kids use to throw small objects in the air, working up to a bigger one (by adults) that catapults a piano; it has a mock newscast; it has kids singing a song about simple machines, along with many visual graphics and so much more! Students would get a lot out of this video and it would be a great resource to use, during teacher input of each lesson that is broken down, discussing simple machines.

Bill Nye The Science Guy - S01E10 - Simple Machines


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