The Compound Machine

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Teacher's Guide

Recommended Grade Levels: 2-6

Tips for using the site with students      

  1. Before using this activity in class (or at home with your kids) go through the activity once to make sure it works correctly on your computer(s).

  2. If the activity does not load after clicking the 'start' button, you may be asked to download a Flash Player from Please click yes as this allows you to view the Edheads Compound Machine activity.

  3. If you are using an iPad or other iDevice, our games will not play without downloading an app or browser. We recommend the Photon browser available at:

  4. Your computer(s) will need to have some sort of sound output. Either speakers or headphones will work well. We strongly recommend head phones in class or particularly in a computer lab setting.

    Students in the target grade range will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete the activity, working individually or in groups of 2 to 3.

  5. Students have the ability to print their scores after finishing each activity. Teachers should decide if they want students to print scores and then make certain they know which printers the students' computers are set to print to.

  6. During testing, most students finished the activity at roughly the same time. All the students printing at the same time could potentially back up in a very long print queue or clog the school's network. Teachers may want to consider having students call out when they want to print, or have students use multiple printers.

  7. The purpose of the printable score sheet is to give teachers an idea of how students are performing within the site and what their knowledge level is. Many students prefer to go through an activity two to three times in order to increase their scores. Teachers may choose to ask that students only print the scores from their first time through the activity.

  8. After students use the site, teachers may want to discuss with their class why certain actions were caused by certain forces. Leading questions such as "what force usually causes objects to fall?" and "what other forces might cause something to fall?" will get students thinking through various scenarios and visualizing possible causes. This can generate excellent classroom discussion about forces and how they act on or are generated by various simple machines. Remember: there is no substitute for a good teacher! (But you knew that, didn't you?)

Printable activities for use in class     

These downloadable activities are in Adobe PDF Format. In order to read these files you must have the free Acrobat Reader, which you can download from here.

  1. Pre and post test –
    Download the Compound Machine Pre- and Post-test

  2. Test Answers:
    1. C 2. B 3. D
    4. A 5. A 6. D
    7. D 8. C 9. B
    10. A 11. C 12. B
    13. A 14. B 15. A
    16. B 17. D  

    The correct answers for the chart on the last page are as follows:

    Compound Machine

    Inclined Plane

    Wheel and Axle













Ohio Science Standards      

Earth and Space Sciences

Grade 3:

Physical Sciences

  1. Identify contact/noncontact forces that affect motion of an object (e.g., gravity, magnetism and collision).
  2. Predict the changes when an object experiences a force (e.g., a push or pull, weight and friction).

  3. Science and Society

  4. Identify various careers in science.
  5. Discuss how both men and women find science rewarding as a career and in their everyday lives.

National Science Standards      

Second Grade Content Standards

Physical Sciences

  1. The motion of objects can be observed and measured.
  2. c. the way to change how something is moving is to give it a push or a pull. The size of the change is related to the strength, or the amount of ‘force,’ of the push or pull. d. tools and machines are used to apply pushes and pulls (forces) to make things move.

Investigation and Experimentation

a. make predictions based on patterns of observation rather than random guessing.

Third Grade Content Standards

Physical Sciences

  1. Energy and matter have multiple forms and can be changed from one form to another.
d. energy can be carried from one place to another by waves, such as water waves and sound, by electric current, and by moving objects.

Fourth Grade Content Standards

Investigation and Experimentation

c. formulate predictions and justify predictions based on cause and effect relationships.