Simple Machines

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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 Simple Machines activity. If you are using school computers, you might need to contact your tech support team to download the Flash Player.

  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.

  5. Students in the target grade-range will take approximately eight to ten minutes per room working individually or in groups of two to three. Students seemed to spend more time and have more fun working in small groups. If time is limited, you may want to consider assigning a certain number of rooms or specific areas for the students to experience. The House is identifying simple machines and the Tool Shed is identifying the simple machines that make up compound machines.

    Students have the ability to print their scores after finishing all four rooms in the House and the Tool Shed. Teachers should make certain they know which printers the students’ computers are set to print to.

  6. During testing, most students finished each room 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, limiting the number of rooms students will print scores for or having 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 a room 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 a room.

  8. After students use the site, teachers may want to discuss with their class why certain objects were simple machines. Leading questions such as “Would the fan blades work as well if they were flat instead of tilted?” will get students thinking about WHY the blades of a fan can be considered inclined planes. Many students will ask questions about the same objects and this can generate excellent classroom discussion about the characteristics of the various simple machines.

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 Simple Machines Pre-Test

    Download the Simple Machines Post-test
  2. Test Answers:

    Page 1:
    Pulley = D
    Gear = E
    Wheel and Axle = F
    Wedge = C
    Inclined Plane = A
    Lever = G
    Screw = B

    Page 2:
    These two parts act.... = Wheel and Axle
    A rope, a wheel.... = pulley
    This simple machine... = lever
    These simple machines.... = gears
    This simple machine can be used to split = wedge
    Examples of this.... = screws
    A heavy object.. = inclined plane

    Page 3:

    Door hinges - lever
    stairs - inclined plane
    lightbulb - screw
    crane - pulley
    doorknob - wheel and axle
    push pin - wedge


Ohio Science Standards      

While the new Ohio Academic Content Standards for Science no longer specifically mention Simple Machines, there are many standards that can be met by teaching Simple Machines or using them to illustrate the various concepts outlined below. The standards below could be met or expanded upon by the Simple Machines activities on the Edheads site.

Physical Science Standards

Grade 1:

  1. Explain or predict the motion of an object.
  2. Explore the effects of some objects on other objects, even when the two objects might not touch.
  3. Investigate a variety of ways of making things move and what causes them to change speed, direction and/or stop.

Grade 3:

  1. Explain how objects are put into motion by pushes or pulls and the change in motion depends on the strength of the push or pull.

Science and Technology

Grade K:

  1. Develop an understanding that the use of tools and machines can be helpful or harmful.
  2. Know that each kind of tool has a special purpose.

Grade 1:

  1. Know that when parts are put together they can do things that they could not do by themselves.
  2. Investigate that tools are used to help make things and some things cannot be made without tools.

Grade 6:

  1. Know that decisions about the use of products and systems can result in desirable or undesirable consequences.

Scientific Inquiry

Grade 1:

  1. Work in a small group, then share findings with others.

Scientific Ways of Knowing

Grade K:

  1. Recognize that people are more likely to accept your ideas if you can give good reasons for them.

National Science Standards      

Grade 2, Physical Sciences:

  1. Tools and machines are used to apply pushes and pulls (forces) to make things move.

Grade 3, Physical Sciences

  1. Machines and living things convert stored energy to motion and heat.