Work, Tools, and Simple Machines
Age 8-10: Concept 4 - Exploration and Survival: Unit 3

Experiment with the six simple machines. Identify examples and uses of simple machines in your home and community. Understand that the simple machines combine to form complex machines and inventions. Solve real-life problems using simple machines that do work.

This unit can be used independently but is designed to be taught in conjunction with the literature unit Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.


  • Able to read and comprehend chapter books at a 4th or 5th grade reading level
  • Able to write an organized paragraph
  • Usually used by children in fourth grade

Table of Contents

  • Lesson 1: Work (2 Days)
  • Lesson 2: The Six Simple Machines (2 Days)
  • Lesson 3: The Inclined Plane
  • Lesson 4: The Screw and the Wedge (2 Days)
  • Lesson 5: Lever, Pulley, and Wheel and Axle (2 Days)
  • Lesson 6: Tools and Machines Make Work Easier (2 Days)
  • Lesson 7: Tools and Machines over Time (2 Days)
  • Final Project: Presenting - Simple Machines (2 Days)

Summary of Skills

Moving Beyond the Page is based on state and national standards. These standards are covered in this unit.
  • Analyze information to construct reasonable explanations from direct and indirect evidence. (Science)
  • Build and use a model to solve a mechanical design problem. (Science)
  • Collect information by observing and measuring. (Science)
  • Communicate valid conclusions. (Science)
  • Construct graphs. (Science)
  • Construct simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts using tools, including computers, to organize, examine, and evaluate information. (Science)
  • Design models to represent the natural world. (Science)
  • Determine how people use simple machines to solve problems. (Science)
  • Explore simple machines in the community. (Science)
  • Identify simple machines that combine to form complex machines. (Science)
  • Plan and implement descriptive and simple investigations which include a well-defined question, a testable hypothesis, and proper equipment. (Science)
  • Analyze changes that have occurred in communities past and present. (Social Studies)
  • Compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify the physical environment to meet their needs. (Social Studies)
  • Describe how individuals, events, and ideas change over time. (Social Studies)
  • Describe similarities and differences among communities in different times and places. (Social Studies)
  • Discuss, describe, and assess ways in which technology is used in homes and communities. (Social Studies)
  • Identify the impact of technological change on communities around the world. (Social Studies)
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