Simple machines are used to reduce effort (force), making a task easier to complete. Think of our bucket on the Museum’s boat raised by a pulley! Simple machines can easily be built from lots of materials, including recyclables. Using recyclables for STEAM projects is an awesome way to reuse and re-purpose common household items, so go through your bins!
Video Tutorial: hand crank video
2 cardboard tubes, a thick piece of cardboard, a ribbon spool, a straw or a pencil, some yarn or string, tape, scissors, and something that can be used as a bucket (plastic fruit cups or yogurt containers work well).
1. Securely tape two cardboard tubes onto a piece of cardboard. They should be about 4 inches from one another.
2. Make two notches at the top of each cardboard tube just large enough for a straw or pencil to rest in and be able to spin.
3. Place the spool on the straw or pencil. If you can’t find some sort of spool, you can simply secure your yarn or string directly to the straw or pencil with a piece of tape. If you are using a spool, make sure you secure it to the straw or pencil with tape. Hint: If you have access to another straw, slip one inside the other and use the bendy part as a handle!
4. Tie your bucket to the end of the piece of yarn or string.
5. Go ahead and start testing out your simple machine. What can you pull up with it? How many Matchbox cars can be lifted? How many Legos?
THE LEARNING BEHIND IT:
Simple machines are devices with just a few or no moving parts that are used to modify motion and force in order to perform work. The same physical principles and mechanical advantages of simple machines used by ancient engineers to build pyramids are used by today’s engineers to construct modern structures such as houses, bridges and skyscrapers. Simple machines allow engineers to solve everyday challenges. Other simple machines are the inclined plane, lever, wedge, wheel and axle, and screw.
Sponsored by National Grid.
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