This is a project that I created for my fourth grade students while doing a simple machines unit in science class.
Before giving the assignment we worked on identifying the types of simple machines. We went on hunts around the classroom, the school, and at home looking for things that contain simple machines. We also experimented with the lever, wedge, pulley, wheel and axle, screw, and inclined plane in the classroom. After these things and more, it only seemed natural to culminate the unit by having the students create a “machine” using these simple machines to complete a task. Basically, the students have to create a chain reaction to make the task happen. In my example, the task was to ring a bell. So I set up a series of events using simple machines to culminate with a bell ringing. It’s like a game of Mousetrap!
This project can range in time from one to three weeks, depending on the needs of your students.
I have it set up so that students can work either alone or with partners. If they work alone, they have to use a minimum of 3 simple machines, whereas if they have a partner, they need at least 5. I strongly encourage them to use all of them.
In this packet I have provided you with:
- a project guideline for the students to follow with directions for completing the project
- a sample written report for the students to follow or as a guide for you
- a sample diagram and sketch of an example for the machine that I made called “The Bell Ringer”
- a grading rubric
I love this project because it involves creativity and much trial and error to get the perfect design. I hope your students enjoy it, too.
NOTE: This product is also available in a bundle pack titled, Science Projects throughout the year. Eight activities/projects are included in the bundle pack.