Identifying Simple Machines

Teacher: Laura Wilkins
Subjects Integrated: Science, Language Arts, and Art
Time: 2-3 30 min. class periods
Size of Group: 2 students



Background Information:


  1. Students work with partners. Have them write down the names of the six simple machines on the in-class worksheet.
  2. When groups are finished have volunteers come up and write the six machines on the butcher paper. Tape these up in the front of the class, or around the room.
  3. Have students make guesses as to how many simple machines they can find in the classroom. Write these numbers down on their worksheet.
  4. Have students walk around classroom or other areas of the school(if responsible enough, and permission has been granted) to find as many simple machines as they can. Students need to be told that they will need to justify how each object is a simple machine, or compound machine.
  5. The students should know this is not a contest to find the most machines, but to find as many different machines in their surroundings.
  6. Give the studenta a time limit for their "machine hunt".
  7. Come together as a class and share findings, have groups discuss what they found one at a time. Write findings on butcher paper. If students think an object may not be a simple machine, have group give reasons as to why they wrote the object down (Children may think an object may be a different simple machine if the object is a compound machine. This could lead to good discussion about compound machines).
  8. Have students compare the number they found to their predictions. How close were they?
  9. Pass out homework sheets. Have students repeat this "hunt" at home with the help of family. Have students bring in drawings and magazine pictures of simple machines.
  10. Have students use drawings and pictures to make a collage on butcher paper of simple machines. When finished share the collages as a class. Display them around the room. Children may work in their groups on this project.
  11. Have students write in their science journals how they felt about this activity. Have them include their class and homework sheets as data for this activity.


  1. Could students identify the names of the six simple machines?
  2. Were children able to find examples of each machine in thier surroundings?
  3. Did children find any machines that were thought to be more than one simple machine? Did they understand that machines can be made up of more than one simple machine?
  4. Did children write down on worksheets objects they had found? Did they write machines down on their homework?



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