Simple Machines | Design a Carnival Attraction | STEM Activity | Paper and Digital
This STEM task helps your students develop problem-solving skills while demonstrating knowledge of pulleys, levers, wedges, screws, inclined planes, wheels, and axles. Students design a carnival attraction using different simple machines. It is the perfect design thinking or project-based learning activity to assess what students have learned. You'll get hours of engaged learning for just a few minutes of prep.
This hands-on resource includes:
- project instructions with a step-by-step guide to getting started.
- project-based learning tips and tricks.
- student task sign-up sheet.
- planning pages for individuals or groups (so you can differentiate).
- checklists to keep students on track (no pun intended).
- assessment pages along with student reflection opportunities.
- photographs of student examples.
- advice from our students.
- marking guides.
- digital versions of all the student pages. This project is not meant to be done digitally, but students can record their progress and do their planning digitally.
Students should have a basic understanding of the different simple machines. This activity was designed and tested with fourth graders. Thank you to our guinea pigs all over Alberta. The engagement was through the roof and teachers praised the project for its connections to 21st-century learning competencies.
Suggested Materials: grooved wheels (spools or bobbins, yarn or string, cardboard, chopsticks, straws, stir sticks, bottle caps, lids, bottle caps, glue sticks, hot glue/glue gun, tape, paper clips, metal fasteners, cylindrical-shaped objects all of the same size, wooden stir sticks, elastic bands, scrap paper, strong scissors, cardboard rolls (paper towel rolls), binders, boxes, something to roll up and down the ramp (eg. a toy car), marshmallows, toothpicks and any other recycled materials you can find!
This resource aligns with:
- Alberta Program of Studies Grade 4 Science (Wheels and Levers and Building Devices That Move)
This resource supports science concepts from these provinces and territories:
- Saskatchewan: FM5.1 Analyze the effects of...mechanical forces... Grade 4
- British Columbia and Yukon Territory: Simple Machines and their Forces Grade 5
- Northwest Territories: Pulleys and Gears Grade 4
- Manitoba: Forces and Simple Machines Grade 5
- any upper elementary or middle school science unit about simple machines
Ninja Note: This file is a PDF and requires printing or copying the digital file. To use the digital version click on the link inside the PDF.
Have a question? Before contacting us, check our Frequently Asked Questions page.