Lesson plan

Simple machines

Experiment with levers, wheel and axle, pulleys and inclined planes to understand how force is increased by simple machines
Science content
Physics: Motion and Forces, Newton’s Laws, Gravity (K, 2, 6)
Physics: Simple and complex Machines (5)

Do a selection of the activities, with several simple machines, or with a focus on one kind of simple machine.

Summarize that simple machines transform between a smaller force moving over a greater distance and a larger force moving over a smaller distance. They can make jobs easier.

Several simple machines linked together make a complex (or compound machine).


Gordon Elementary did: Lever balancing and projecting all together, then See Saw, Levers in everyday use, and Pulleys to pull someone up as three stations to rotate through.
Carnarvon: 1.5hr lesson with Lever experimentation, See Saw as group, Levers in everyday use, Wheel and forces, Simple machines on a bike (outdoors at bike rack) and Pulleys to pull someone up as two stations, ending with Pulleys to pull each other together as a large group.
Nellie at Tyee did Wheel and forces, inclined planes, then simple machines (and friction and sturdy triangles) on a bike. This followed lessons dedicated to levers and pulleys.

Grades taught
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6