We're here to help you navigate STEM learning at home while schools and camps are closed due to COVID-19.

Here are some resources to guide your at home learning:

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
Credits
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
A yard stick and a marker form a lever that lifts a book with the effort of one finger

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.

Materials


A yardstick, ruler, marker, pencil, book and box of crayons

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
Credits
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
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
Free science fair projects.