In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, the cast shows how the 34 steps in their Rube Goldberg invention use everything from gravity to carbon dioxide gas in order to accomplish one simple task: pouring a glass of milk. ***Access to Teacher's Domain content now requires free login to PBS Learning Media.
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In this video segment from ZOOM, Jillian explains how her simple machine uses marbles, levers, flowing sand, and a spinning wheel to water a plant. ***Access to Teacher's Domain content now requires free login to PBS Learning Media.
A zip line is a way to glide from one point to another while hanging from a cable. Design and create a zip line that is safe for a hard-boiled egg. After designing a safety egg harness, connect the harness to fishing line or wire connected between two chairs of different heights using a paper clip. Learn to improve your zip line based on data. Attach a motion sensor at the bottom of your zip line and display a graph to show how smooth a ride your egg had!
Science Content Storyline: Simple MachinesBriefly write the content story for the topic: PS2.A Forces and Motion Disciplinary Core Ideas: Each force acts on one particular object and has both strength and a direction. An object at rest typically has multiple forces acting on it, but they add to give zero net force on the object. Forces that do not sum to zero can cause changes in the object’s speed or direction of motion. (3-PS2-1). The patterns of an object’s motion in various situations can be observed and measured; when that past motion exhibits a regular pattern, future motion can be predicted from it.(3-PS2-2)Educational StandardsNGSS: 3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. [Clarification Statement: Examples could include an unbalanced force on one side of a ball can make it start moving; and, balanced forces pushing on a box from both sides will not produce any motion at all.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to one variable at a time: number, size,or direction of forces. The assessment does not include quantitative force size, only qualitative and relative. Assessment is limited to gravity being addressed as a force that pulls objects down.]3-PS2-2. Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion. [Clarification Statement: Examples of motion with a predictable pattern could include a child swinging in a swing, a ball rolling back and forth in a bowl, and two children on a see-saw.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include technical terms such as period and frequency.]Summary: Machines make work easier. Levers, inclined planes, and pulleys are simple machines that help us to do work. Work is moving something across a distance using force. Force is a push or a pull. Machines help us to do work by reducing the force needed or changing the direction of the force. There is a trade-off between the amount of effort and distance. (You can’t something for nothing!)
Engineer and cartoonist Rube Goldberg is famous for his crazy machines that accomplish everyday tasks in overly complicated ways. Students use their new understanding of types of simple machines to design and build their own Rube Goldberg machines that perform simple tasks in no less than 10 steps.
In this activity, students will learn about and apply the Engineering Design Process to solve a problem. While working through the steps of the Engineering Design process they will focus on defining the criteria and constraints of a design problem, learn about scientific principles of simple machines, understand tool and machine safety, and create a prototype solution to the problem. The activity frames the problem around researching, designing, building and testing a prototype that is built with at least one simple machine that will launch a ball into a target. At end of unit students test their prototypes and present their findings of working through the process.
● Project Rubric
This article provides links to lessons and units about birds, bird characteristics, and penguins. Ideas for literacy integration are included, and all lessons are aligned to national standards.
- Environmental Science
- Material Type:
- Lesson Plan
- Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
- Provider Set:
- Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
- Jessica Fries-Gaither
- Date Added:
This is a Unit that I created for STEM Lessons. Students love to create Rube Goldberg Machines and they get a much better idea of how simple machines work and what they can do to accomplish work.
This is a guided inquiry discussion to introduce machines and to identify types of simple machines
(Work in progress!)
Attempted imitations of the 17 projects of LEGO set #9630 (Simple Mechanisms), plus its expansion motor set #9615, but using parts instead from the newer LEGO WeDo sets #9580 and #9585.
WeDo sets may be found in an increasing number of classrooms; they are intended to be introductory robotics sets but include lots of basic mechanism parts and projects.
Good preparation or extension activities for those who have WeDo sets (or perhaps an assortment of "Technic" parts).
Study the motion of a toy car on a ramp and use motion sensors to digitally graph the position data and then analyze it. Make predictions about what the graphs will look like, and consider what the corresponding velocity graphs would look like.
In this Science NetLinks lesson, students will start by discussing a couple of the simple machines and what the purpose of them might be. Then, after reading a short page on each simple machine, they will discuss how the simple machines function. They will explore this briefly in a hands-on fashion and lead into the discussion and realization that these tools are the base for almost any machine or more complex tool that we use.
Students learn about the concept of pushing, as well as the relationship between force and mass. Students practice measurement skills using pan scales and rulers to make predictions about mass and distance. A LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robot is used to test their hypotheses. By the end of the activity, students have a better understanding of robotics, mass and friction and the concept of predicting.
This resource is a rubric from a STEM Competition in which 4th-6th grade students competed. For this competition, students had to incorporate their understanding of simple machines to build a Rube Goldberg machine that completed a task.
In this activity, students are challenged to design a contraption using simple machines to move a circus elephant into a rail car. After students consider their audience and constraints, they work in groups to brainstorm ideas and select one concept to communicate to the class.