Inclined planes

Students experiment with household materials that are wedges, screws, or both - all variations of inclined planes.
Science content
Physics: Simple and complex Machines (5)
Lessons activity is in
  • bottle, cork and corkscrew
  • bottles with screw caps
  • light bulb and fixture
  • screws, screwdrivers and dense card to screw into
  • potato peeler and potatoes
  • nails, hammer and wood
  • skewer and foam pieces
  • scissors and paper
  • pencil sharpener and pencils
  • knife and potato

Describe an inclined plane: driving or walking up a hill. Stairs in a house. Pushing an object up a ramp. You move for longer, but with less effort than going straight up.

Two kinds of tools are inclined planes: a wedge and a screw.
A wedge is a tool with an inclined plan on it, or with a slope on it, so rather than pushing on something head on, you push on a slope, which is easier. Pointy things are wedges.
A screw is an inclined plane wrapped around a shaft.

Students visit the stations of materials, try out the wedges and screws, and decide which one is and why. (Note: some are both e.g. screw with a pointed tip)
Optional: give them worksheets to draw the materials and show where the inclined plane is for each (see attached).

Attached documents
Grades taught
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6