Print Lesson


Students will be able to explain that a screw is an inclined plane on a rod that is used to hold items together or lift them up.

Big Idea

Students learn that the screw is a simple tool that makes work easier.


10 minutes

Students are asked to come to the meeting place rug to listen to a book about a new simple tool: the screw.

Before beginning the What is a Screw?, I ask students to think on their own about what they think the definition of a screw is.

I give them a minute or two of think time.

After think time, I use turn taking sticks to call on a few students to give me a definition of the screw.  I write these on chart paper that is hanging on the wall.

I then say to students, "I'm going to read this book about screws.  While I'm reading, be listening for the definition, or what the word screw means."

I then read the book.  If needed, I stop and clarify any information that may be difficult to understand or ask clarifying questions.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

After listening to the book, students are asked to get up and go to their seats quietly and wait for directions.

I take the chart paper to the front of the room and I ask students if they heard a definition of a screw in the book. I listen for student responses. 

The most common response from students is that a screw is a tool or it is something that is used to hang things.

After hearing responses, I either add the correct definition to the chart or I stop to explain what the correct definition is.

"A screw is an inclined plane attached to a rod that can hold things together."

I then pass out a bowl of screws to each table. In the bowl are different types of screws. (ie. flat head, Phillips head, long, short, etc.)

I ask students to take a screw from the bowl and examine it carefully. I then ask students, "Do you see an inclined plane?"

Students were taught the inclined plane previously in order to build on this lesson.

It will be difficult for students to see the inclined plane on the screw. I may have one or two students that will see it but for the most part, they will not.

"I'm going to give you a better opportunity to see how there is an inclined plane on a screw."

I pass out unused pencils to each student because they are long enough for the paper that I cut. I also pass out an inclined plane shaped paper. I've taken a piece of 4 1/2 X 6 1/2" scrapbook paper with a pattern on it and cut from one end to the other diagonally in order to create two triangles. I use double sided scrapbook paper so that when the students roll it up on the pencil, they can see where the patterns roll to make the inclined plane.

The students are instructed to take the widest end of the plane and lay the pencil on it.  I show the students how to roll the pencil up in the paper so that the point of the plane is rolled up last. (Think Pillsbury Crescent Rolls).

When the students are done doing this, they will be able to see how the inclined plane looks on the pencil, representing a screw.



10 minutes

To close the lesson, I show the students a slideshow of all of the different "machines" that use a screw.

Showing students the slideshow gives students a better sense of the range of things that a screw is used for.  Screws are not just small silver items that can be screwed in with a screwdriver.

As we watch the slideshow, I stop and the class will engage in discussion of how each item can help make a job easier to do.  The questions that I ask the students are embedded in the slideshow and go with each slide. 

I ask questions and call on students that I feel need to the language and vocabulary experience during this time.  It is important to focus parts of each lesson on those students that may not offer answers on their own.