This activity is perfect for a unit on simple machines! Students learn more about levers by investigating how much effort it takes to lift a load. By moving the fulcrum closer or farther from the load, students realize the relationship between the position of the fulcrum and the amount of effort it takes to lift the load! The materials you need are a pegboard arm, something that can act as the fulcrum, two cups, a hex nut, and paperclips. You start by putting the pegboard arm centered over the fulcrum and place a cup on each end. Put a hex nut in one cup (the load) and then keep adding paperclips to the other cup (the effort) until the load is lifted. Count the paperclips and record the number. Then move the fulcrum so that it is closer or farther away from the load and repeat the procedure.
This activity takes them through the materials, the procedure, the recorded data, and the results. In the results section on the second page, students make a graph based on the data that they collected. They answer 4 questions about the activity and their data. This helps to combine science with the math skills of graphing, subtraction, and measurement. The sheets can be cut along the black rectangle to fit easily in students' science notebooks!
See my other product listings for more challenge activities involving levers and catapults, as well as informational text about levers and catapults for reading with kids.