Teach students all about simple machines through the lens of scientific innovation and Rube Goldberg machines! This bundle includes various activities, internet activities, readings and labs that will expose students to the function of simple machines and Rube Goldberg machines.
Included in the bundle is the following, which can be purchased individually at The Science Fair
Scientific Innovation Close Read
As a precursor to a unit on innovation, such as a Rube Goldberg unit, use this close read to explore how science can be used to push our society further. This reading, which assesses students' ability to summarize main ideas, discusses Sweden's revolutionary practice of burning trash for fuel. Students will need to closely read the text, answer the scaffolded questions and summarize main ideas after reading. This assignment includes two differentiated versions for your different level readers. The B reading includes more scaffolded prompts and a chunked text!
Simple Machine Online Guided Notes
My students hated taking notes so I created a way to give students information in a more interactive way! Students will be introduced to four simple machines through images and videos collected on Spaaze, an interactive corkboard, and record key pieces of information that can be referenced later. The link to the Spaaze corkboard is also included!
Introduction to Inclined Planes and Levers
Use this activity, called Building Background Knowledge (BBK), to introduce students to examples and uses for both inclined planes and levers. On the two outside boxes of the graphic organizers, students write observations, commonalities, things that stick out etc. about the pictures and videos. The interior boxes are used along with a fun online simulator, for which the links are included in the powerpoint. Finally, a reading is included that further defines and explains how these simple machines work. The reading can be done in conjunction with the BBK if you have longer class periods or as homework. The link to the Powerpoint is included in the document. BBKs are a great way to introduce students to new material, get them making connections to real-life examples and build in differentiation for many students!
Learn About Pulleys and Wheel & Axles
Use this Padlet as a way to interactively explore how both pulleys and wheel and axles work. Students can work in pairs or individually on computer or iPads to use the simple machine simulators and then play a Rube Goldberg game to test their understanding of all four simple machines (levers, inclined planes, pulleys and wheel and axles). The simulators and game can also be presented on a Smartboard or a projector if students do not have access to computers or iPads. The link to the Padlet is included in the document!
Simple Machines Quiz
Students will need to apply their understanding of simple machines in a quiz. The first section consists of identification and short answer questions, requiring students to properly name each simple machine and explain its function. The application section asks students to further demonstrate their understanding by identifying simple machines within a Rube Goldberg machine, explain how the simple machine functions in the Rube Goldberg as a whole and finally, requires that students suggest an improvement to the diagram.
Simple Machines Rube Goldberg Challenge
One of my personal favorite activities to get students involved in simple machines! Teams of students, which can range from 2 to 4, get a box of everyday items and are required to complete mini-Rube Goldbergs using these materials. Increasing in difficulty as the levels progress, students must work together to apply these simple machines to accomplish each task. For example, the last challenge requires students to turn the page of a book. Simple, right? Until you can only use a spoon, string and tape! This activity allows tons of hands-on, kinesthetic exploration of simple machines. It's also a great scaffold if your students are building a Rube Goldberg later in the unit.
Rube Goldberg Simple Machines Summative
Test students' understanding of simple machines and interactions between them with a fun, interactive summative! Students will plan, execute and test a Rube Goldberg as a summative (or extended project) in a simple machines unit. This summative task asks students to plan their machine, including what materials they need to use, explain interactions between various parts of the machine, and connect the steps of their Rube Goldberg. The summative also includes an extension for students to create a poster and justify the value of their Rube Goldberg. A great hands-on project for all different kinds of learners!
Simple Machines Homework Bundle
Use these homework assignments to reinforce and support students' understanding of simple machines and how they work. Included are four different assignments that discuss scientific innovations, primarily focusing on determining the main idea of scientific articles, and application assignments in which students must use their understanding of simple machines to analyze and discuss elements of Rube Goldberg machines. Can be used for classwork as well!