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A Guide to Simple Machines

The most elaborate machines and inventions are really derived from very basic ideas. The ideas that have come from the simple wheel, inclined plane and pulley systems have been adapted into more complex inventions such as automobiles, airplanes and other machinery.

Teachers have found that the study of these types of simple machines can be beneficial in learning about more complex ideas. Because of these ideas, we have assembled a number of links that can be beneficial to teachers in teaching scientific concepts that simple machines provide:


  • Pulley Activities – activities that can be used to demonstrate the principals of the pulley.

  • Pulleys – information on how pulleys work and the types of pulleys.

  • Pulley Uses – educational example of the uses of pulleys.

  • Pulley Example – useful experiment that students can do to learn about how pulleys work.

  • Gears and Pulleys Lab – lab that students can do to learn about gears and pulleys.

Wheel and Axle


  • The Lever – physics and engineering are discussed in this informative article about the lever.

  • Simple Machines – information about the lever and other simple machines.

  • Types of Simple Machines – useful information about the lever and other simple machine types.

  • Lever and other Simple Machines – informative site listing various types of simple machines and their uses.

  • Lever – resource detailing the uses of the lever as a simple machine.

Inclined Plane


  • Wedge – information and examples of the uses of the wedge.

  • Understanding the Wedge – informative page discussing the uses of the wedge.

  • Wedges and Screws – useful information on this page showing how wedges and screws operate.

  • Wedge and Lever – informative lab showing how the wedge and lever operate.

  • What Do Wedges Do? – experiment showing the use of a wedge and how it works.

Lesson Plans

Simple Machine Projects

  • Experiments – collection of experiments covering simple machines.

  • Lessons – variety of lessons for students to understand the workings of simple machines.

  • Simple Machines – helpful collection of resources covering simple machine projects.

  • Understanding Simple Machines – useful information on how to understand the workings of simple machines.

  • Simple Machine Activities – resourceful site containing numerous activities and lessons concerning simple machines.

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