Simple Machines STEM Challenges | Paper and Digital
Use these fifteen simple machine STEM tasks that can be prepped in minutes. Your students will develop problem-solving skills while demonstrating their knowledge of pulleys, levers, wedges, screws, gears, rollers, inclined planes, wheels, and axles.
This hands-on resource includes:
- sixteen tasks that use simple machines and concepts from a simple machines unit.
- suggestions for setting up your classroom for efficiency.
- suggestions to modify for different learner needs.
- suggestions to assess learning including rubrics, checklist, and self-assessment pages.
- student task pages in paper and digital versions.
- student planning plages for working in a group or individually in paper and digital versions.
- a list of possible materials that can be used with suggestions for substitutions of everyday items.
- suggestions for solving each task (teacher background knowledge) along with photos of student examples.
Answer keys are not included, as the whole point of these challenges is to work through problems with divergent thinking.
Students should have a basic understanding of the vocabulary of simple machines to complete the majority of these challenges. They were designed and tested with fourth graders. Thank you to our guinea pigs all over Alberta.
Suggested materials: grooved wheels, thread spools, sewing bobbins, yarn or string, a rod or hook in a doorway, cardboard, chopsticks, straws, stir sticks, bottle caps, lids, bottle caps, glue sticks, hot glue/glue gun, tape, paper clips, metal fasters, cylindrical shaped objects all of the same size, wooden stir sticks, elastic bands, scrap paper, strong scissors, paper towel rolls, binders, boxes, something to roll up and down the ramp (like a toy car), marshmallows, toothpicks and any other 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.
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