The following investigation would be a great activity to use with students from grades 4-8 either as a way to introduce or review simple machines and motion. It is a fun and effective method to introduce simple machines and motion to students or to review key concepts prior to delving into more complex ideas regarding systems in action.
In this activity, students will work in small groups to investigate both simple machines and linear movement. The activity begins as a whole class activity where simple machines are discussed, to a small group investigation. First, students will examine the car and layout of the experiment to investigate several simple machines. Next, in order to observe linear movement, the car will be allowed to travel down a ramp. Finally, students will demonstrate how changes to the mass of the cart will then affect its linear movement.
Included is teacher information and student booklet.