What are “simple machines” and how do they make work easier?
Simple machines are ones which have only one part to do the work. They are basically what you see in the illustration: inclined planes, levers, pulleys, wheels & axles, wedges, screws, and gears. Just about every tool we use to do anything is based on one or more of these fundamental “simple tools”. When your students understand this, they can begin to get a grasp on how things really work.
Here are two very good downloadable PDF ebooks that introduce, explain and illustrate the basic concepts behind “simple machines”:
THE SIMPLE MACHINES and
WHAT ARE SIMPLE MACHINES?
And if you want to do some hands-on lessons on simple machines, here’s a teaching guide with lots of activities, projects and experiments for you. This was originally written for 5th grade students, but can be adapted for any age:
SIMPLE MACHINES by Terri Wakild