Grade Levels: K-3

These family and homeschool activities are designed to complement the Simple Machines topic on BrainPOP Jr.

Simple Machine Walk

Together with your child, take a walk around your neighborhood. Have your child carry a notebook or a camera. Have him or her identify different simple machines or observe machines or tools that use different simple machines. Have your child take pictures of it or draw a picture of it to make a catalog. As a math connection, have your child create a tally chart to keep track of the number of different simple machines he or she sees on the walk. Which simple machine is most commonly used? When you return home, look around for any simple machines you and your child use in the house. Could you do without them? How would you manage?

Give a Lift

Tape a pencil to a table. Then place a ruler on top of the pencil to create a lever. Place an object on one end of the ruler and press down on the other end to lift the object up. Try using objects of different weights. What happens? Is it easier or harder to lift heavier objects? Then have your child move the ruler so that the fulcrum is closer or farther away from the load. When does it become easier or harder to lift the load? Does the load ever become too heavy for the lever, and if so, where is the fulcrum?