Grade Range
3rd-5th
Group Size
2
Total Time
1 hours 45 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
forces, simple machines, pulleys
Credits
TeachEngineering logo

Overview

Using common materials (spools, string, soap), students learn how a pulley can be used to easily change the direction of a force, making the moving of large objects easier. They see the difference between fixed and movable pulleys, and the mechanical advantage gained with multiple/combined pulleys. They also learn the many ways engineers use pulleys for everyday purposes.

Engineering Connection

Thousands of years ago as well as today, engineers used pulleys to make everyday tasks and large construction projects easier. They use pulleys to raise heavy objects, taking advantage of gravity to help lift an object. Engineers incorporate pulleys into a wide range of modern-day applications, such as cranes for lifting very heavy objects in construction projects, elevators, flagpoles, motors, bicycles and boats. To gain a mechanical advantage using multiple pulleys in conjunction with motors and electronics, engineers create devices that operate with very little power for how much work they perform.

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.
  • 3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
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.

Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods. Science investigations use a variety of methods, tools, and techniques.
ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions. Tests are often designed to identify failure points or difficulties, which suggest the elements of the design that need to be improved.

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 the constraints.

PS2.A: Forces and Motion. Each force acts on one particular object and has both strength and a direction. An object at rest typically has multiple forces acting on it, but they add to give zero net force on the object. Forces that do not sum to zero can cause changes in the object's speed or direction of motion. (Boundary: Qualitative and conceptual, but not quantitative addition of forces are used at this level.)

PS2.B: Types of Interactions. Objects in contact exert forces on each other.
Cause and Effect. Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified.

Reviews

|
Science Buddies |
Was this review helpful?
Be the first one to review this lesson plan.
Grade Range
3rd-5th
Group Size
2
Total Time
1 hours 45 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
forces, simple machines, pulleys
Credits
TeachEngineering logo
Free science fair projects.