This is an easy no-need-to-plan-ahead expedition. Head over to your local hardware store and challenge the kids to find some simple machines.
Simple machines work for us so we don’t have to. Think of a wheelbarrow– its wheel and axle make it possible for us to lift and move heavy loads without as much effort. The pulley on a flagpole allows us to post the colors without climbing the pole. Just this weekend I used the wedge side of a sledgehammer to pry up some tile on my kitchen floor. Simple machines make work easier, and the hardware store is full of them.
Look for examples of these:
- pulleys (use grooved wheels and a rope to raise, lower, or move a load)
- levers (a stiff bar that rests on a fulcrum to lift or move loads)
- wedges (an object with at least one slanting side that ends in a sharp edge)
- wheel and axle (a wheel with a rod through its center)
- inclined planes (a slanting surface that connects a lower and higher elevation)
- screws (an inclined plane wrapped around a pole)
- Complex machines, like an automobile for instance, are made up of simple machines combined together. See if you can find some of the simple machines within complex machines.
- While talking about tools teach your child to do a simple repair around your house. Change out a light switch, stop a leaky faucet, repair a doorknob (or the hole left behind it in your wall), switch the knobs out on the kitchen cabinets for something prettier, or another repair that’s needed doing.
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