Simple Machines Lessons

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Difficulty Level: This indicates how difficult it is for the teacher to present the lesson, not how hard it is for the student to do the experiment. Difficulty levels vary according to type of equipment needed, preparation time, and scarcity or expense of certain materials.

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 Simple Machines
Catapultst trailer
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Catapults -- Students discover the best way to launch plastic grapes with a catapult that converts mechanical energy into kinetic energy. This relates to kinetic and potential energy, simple machines, levers, drag, and Newton’s laws of motion. Difficulty: High
Gyro on a String trailer
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Gyro on a String -- Students discover how the gyroscopic effect can help them steer a bicycle, then they make their own gyroscopic top and try to make it spin as long as possible. This relates to momentum, balance, center of mass, and guidance of missiles and aircraft. Difficulty: Easy
Hero's Fountain trailer
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Hero's Fountain -- Students make water flow uphill with no power added, and they make water stay in a jar that is upside down. This relates to liquids, gases, siphons, suction, and air pressure. Difficulty: High
Roller Coasters trailer
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Roller Coasters -- Students work in groups to make a roller coaster with split foam tubes, marbles and tape. They discover amazing ways to get as many energy conversions as possible. This relates to potential and kinetic energy, friction, and inertia. Difficulty: Easy
ropesandpulleysimage
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Ropes and Pulleys -- Use mountain climbing equipment to lift each other off the ground. This relates to simple machines, pulleys, ramps, levers, friction, balance, and mechanical advantage. Difficulty: Hard
Squirt Guns trailer
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Squirt Guns -- Students construct a gun that can squirt water as high as a building, then compare the effects of different nozzles. This relates to liquids, gases, suction, and air pressure. Difficulty: High

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