Wheels and Axels
Lesson 2 of 8
Objective: Students learn the history of wheels and axles and how they can make work easier by watching a video and exploring different types of wheel and axle machines.
Students are asked to sit at their seats to watch a video "about a simple machine that we use everyday for lots of different things: the wheel and axle."
The video gives a brief history of how and when the wheel and axle came to be. Students are typically amazed that this machine has been around for so long. This particular video is older however, contains great information. (You will definitely need to screen this video before showing it to see just how long you want the students to watch.) I do not show the entire 12 minute video.
As I begin the video, I watch for student engagement. If needed, I stop the video and ask clarifying questions. If I see that the students are all engaged, I wait to do this after the video is over.
After answering questions or clarifying information for students, I ask students to "turn to their table partner and talk about what they saw in the video and see if they can name some machines that we use today that are wheel and axle machines."
I give students a few minutes to talk with their partner.
When students are finished talking with their table partner, I bring students back together and explain that we are going to look at several different types of machines that are wheel and axle machines. These items will be from the first lesson in the unit that students explored the day before.
I show students each machine and explain how each one works using the wheel and axle.
pencil sharpener (crank kind)
old-fashioned egg beater
wheels on a Matchbox car
After giving the students examples and explain how the machine works, I pass out a box of Tinker Toys to each table and then give students about 5-10 minutes to build their own wheel/axle machines.
You can purchase the Classic Tinker Toy Set here.
After students have had time to create a wheel/axle machine with the Tinker Toys, I pass out their science journals.
I ask students to "draw a picture of the machine they created and then label the picture with the words "wheel" and "axle" to show where those two components are."
While they are working on this, I pass out the definition of a wheel and axle that students glue into their journals. We read the definition together as a class.