Simple Machines Computer Simulation

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SWBAT identify the simple machines through an online computer simulation.

Big Idea

Using EdHeads software, students engage in the discovery of simple machines in the context of everyday objects.

Teacher Preparation

10 minutes

This lesson is based entirely on a very cool online simulation by EdHeads.  This simulation is designed for middle school aged students to identify simple and complex machines within everyday objects found around the home and the garage.  This lesson is reinforcement for Simple Machines Introduction and Simple Machines Foldables

To prepare for this lesson, the teacher will need to make sure there are enough Flash compatible devices for students to share or use on their own. This simulation will not run on iPads.  I have a class set and have my students work individually.  I also set the site up on each of the computers before students arrive, saving time instead of having students start the computers and waste time not finding the site. 

I also provide the students with a copy of a procedure and data sheet in order to stay on task throughout the simulation, known as the student notes sheet.  Students will complete the sheet while moving through the site.  This is the way I evaluate their progress, as well. 

It helps to show the students the site on a SMART board or overhead device so they can understand where to go to get started.  I walk them through the start page and onto task #1. 

For more information about the simulation, see how to use the simple machines simulation.

The Simulation

40 minutes

Students move through the simulation independently or in groups (if you need them to share devices). If working independently, I have them wear headphones to minimize their interaction with one another and save myself from a headache. If you are having them work in small groups, make sure they make the volume as low as possible, they will get distracted from others' computers.

I hand out the simulation sheet and have them work on the ENGAGE section which asks them to identify the six types of simple machines and give an example of each.  After five minutes, I write/display their examples, creating a larger class list.

Then, I show students the simulation and walk them through steps # 1-7 on their student notes sheet.  After I walk them through the expectations and model the directions, students open their computers and get to work.  

As they are working, I am moving from student to student helping along the way and ensuring proper completion of the procedure.  If I find that some students are struggling at the same places, I stop everyone and call attention to this as a class and ask them to think about the answer together.  This usually gets them going again.  

Once the simulation is complete, students will work individually to answer the reflection questions at the bottom of the sheet.  Once they are finished, we will share answers as a whole class.