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Lifting with a Lever

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Grade Range
3rd-5th
Group Size
1-2 students
Active Time
30 minutes
Total Time
30 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
Forces, levers
Learning Objectives
  • Understand the working principles of a lever
  • Apply these principles to lift a heavy object with one finger
  • Identify which variables can be changed when using a lever, and the effect of changing them
Lever built with meter stick and marker

Overview

Can your students lift a book off the floor with just one finger? Find out and learn about simple machines in this fun lesson plan about levers.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Planning and Carrying out Investigations. Plan and conduct an investigation collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, using fair tests in which variables are controlled and the number of trials considered.
ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution. Different solutions need to be tested in order to determine which of them best solves the problem, given the criteria and constraints.
Systems and System Models. A system is a group of related parts that make up a whole and can carry out functions its individual parts cannot.

Credits

Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies

Materials


Materials for lever lesson plan

For the entire class:

  • Book or other heavy object
  • Stiff meter stick/yard stick (make sure it is not too flexible)
  • Thick marker

For each student (make small groups if there are not enough supplies):

  • Pencil or thin marker or crayon
  • Stiff ruler with inch markings (do not use flexible rulers)
  • An item to use as a weight, like a box of crayons

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Grade Range
3rd-5th
Group Size
1-2 students
Active Time
30 minutes
Total Time
30 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
Forces, levers
Learning Objectives
  • Understand the working principles of a lever
  • Apply these principles to lift a heavy object with one finger
  • Identify which variables can be changed when using a lever, and the effect of changing them

Class Materials