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Machines at Work and Play

Grades 3 - 5

A "problem" might seem like something bad is about to happen, but often a problem is a puzzle waiting for a solution. Guide students through an exciting exploration of simple machines wrapped up in 5E lesson plans where students investigate simple machines through active learning, then apply their new knowledge to collaborate in designing playground equipment.

Leveled Readers are available in four Lexile Measures, distinguished by a color key on the back of each reader.

Lexile Levels
Lexile Measure Range 900-1050
Lexile Measure Range 750-900
Lexile Measure Range 600-750
Lexile Measure Range 450-600

Driving Question

How do people use simple machines to solve problems?

Anchor Phenomenon

Engineers design machines that make work easier.

  Investigative Phenomena
–Focus Questions
Real-World Phenomena
Lesson 1
Force and Work
Focus Question How do force and distance affect work? Real-World Phenomena
  • Relationship of force, distance and work
Lesson 2
Inclined Planes
Focus Question How do inclined planes make work easier? Real-World Phenomena
  • Use of inclined planes in building the Egyptian pyramids
Lesson 3
Wedges and Screws
Focus Question How do wedges and screws make work easier? Real-World Phenomena
  • Solving a problem with an Archimedes's screw
Lesson 4
Focus Question How do levers affect force and work? Real-World Phenomena
  • Tools that are levers
  • Levers in the human body
Lesson 5
Focus Question How does friction affect the motion of objects? Real-World Phenomena
  • Friction and lubrication in the sport of curling
Lesson 6
Wheel and Axle
Focus Question How does a wheel and axle make work easier? Real-World Phenomena
  • Wheel and axle systems in common objects
  • Gear systems in common objects
Lesson 7
Focus Question How do pulleys make it easier to do work? Real-World Phenomena
  • Pulley systems in common objects and situations
Lesson 8
Compound Machines
Focus Question How are simple machines combined to make compound machines? Real-World Phenomena
  • Everyday objects that are compound machines
  • Bicycle engineering and design
Lesson 9
Engineering Design
Focus Question How can simple machines be combined to make a piece of playground equipment? Real-World Phenomena
  • The process of designing a playground