Saturday, September 3, 2011

Annotated Bib - Simple Machines

Simple Machines are the basic components of more complex machines that elementary students need to learn about in order to fully understand force, motion and energy. There are six types of simple machines; wheel and axles, levers, screws, pulleys, wedges and inclined planes.

Get to Know Wheels and Axles. By Paul Challen. 2009. 32 p. Crabtree Publishing Company, (9780778744887). Gr. 1-2.
This book shows how simple machines can be find in familiar objects all around us; playgrounds, clocks, bicycles, zip lines and more. Simple machines are what make up some of the most complicated machinery like cars and roller coasters. This book is also part of a series on simple machines. Other books include Get to Know Screws, Get to Know Inclined Planes, and Get to Know Pulleys.

How Do You Lift a Lion? By Robert E. Wells, illus. by the author. 1996. 32 p. Albert Whitman & Company, (9780807534212). Gr. 2-3.
This book is a picture book that covers gravity, force and motions through the story of two children trying to lift a lion, pull a panda, and give bananas to baboons. The illustrations are captivating for a child in second or third grade. This is a basic introduction to pulleys, wheels and axels, and gears. The glossary in the back is particularly helpful for identifying key terms.

Pulleys and Gears. By, David Glover. 2006. 24 p. Heinemann-Raintree, (9781403485939). Gr. 2-3.
This uses everyday examples such as clocks, bikes, and carnival rides to focus on pulleys and gears. Using examples of simple machines in everyday life makes it easy for the child to relate to.

Science Experiments with Simple Machines. By Sally Nankivell-Aston and Dorothy Jackson. 2006. 32 p. Children's Press, (9780531154458). Gr. 3-4.
This book allows students to make simple machine models from common items. Students are able to follow simple directions and conduct hands on constructions. Whereas other books can lay the foundation with more informative facts, this book is the fun part where students can become scientists and engineers and build things!

Scoop, Seesaw, and Raise: A Book About Levers. By Michael Dahl. Illus. by Denise Shea. 2006. 24 p. Picture Window Books, (9781404819108). Gr. 1-2.
This book is part of a series about simple machines, others include Cut, Chop, and Stop: A Book About Wedges and Pull, Lift, and Lower: A Book About Pulleys. The book describes how lever machines push, lift and move a load. Beneficial from children in lower elementary grades because of the captivating illustrations.

Books for Teachers

Hands-On Physical Science Activities for Grades K-8. By Marvin N. Tolman. 1995. 384 p. Jossey-Bass, (9780132301787). Gr. K-8.
Contains 180 hands on activities that seem to be very popular among teachers. This book pushes students to use both thinking and reasoning skills along with basic physical science concepts and facts. Easy to follow format and directions.

Machines (Make it Work! Science). By Andrew Haslam. 2000. 48 p. Cooper Square Publishing, (9781587283574). Gr. 3-6.
This book is filled with colorful and captivating images of easy to construct simple machines. Calls for inexpensive and easy to find materials such as soda bottles and laundry clips. Projects are intended for small groups to stimulate classroom interaction. Safety precautions are reiterated throughout.

Simple Machines Made Simple. By Ralph St. Andre. 1993. 150 p. Teachers Idea Press, (9781563081040). Gr. 3-5.
This book allows teachers to present scientific principles and simple mechanics through hands-on cooperative learning activities. Using inexpensive materials (e.g., tape, paper clips), students build simple machines-such as levers, pulleys, spring scales, gears, wheels and axles, windmills, and wedges-that demonstrate how things work. Activities have easy-to-locate materials lists, time requirements, and step-by-step directions (usually illustrated) on presentation. Ideas for bulletin boards, learning centers, and computer-assisted instruction are an added bonus.

Web Sites
Edheads - Simple Machines
This website is beneficial to both children and teachers. Games that challenge the student to identify each of the simple machines. Includes a teachers guide and glossary. For grades 2-6.
Ideal for teachers to utilize for possible student activities. Has section resources on each of the six simple machines. Each section is broken down into more specific bullet points of the particular simple machine and a vocabulary section. Gr 2.

Paso Partners
This link takes you to grade three lessons that are all available in both English and Spanish in PDF form.

VERY informative...offers a basic, easy to understand definition of each of the simple machines and even has an online quiz. Could be a good site for children to use at home when studying for a physical science test.

The Essence of Simple Machines
This website is simple and easy to navigate for teachers or students. The visitor can click on any of the 6 images of simple machines to learn more.

For Teachers
Virginia Standard of Learning
SOL 3.2 The student will investigate and understand simple machines and their uses. Key concepts include:
a) purpose and function of simple machines
b) types of simple machines
c) compound machines and
d) examples of simple machines and compound machines found in the school, home and work environments.

Background Information from Curriculum Framework
  • Simple machines are tools that make work easier. Examples of tasks made easier include lifting a heavy weight, moving a heavy object over a distance, pushing things apart, changing the direction of a force, or holding an object together.
  • The six simple machines are the lever, inclined plane, wedge, wheel and axle, screw, and pulley.
  • The lever is a stiff bar that moves about a fixed point (fulcrum). It is a simple machine that is used to push, pull, or lift things. Examples include a seesaw, crowbar, and shovel.
  • The inclined plane is a flat surface that is raised so one end is higher than the other. The inclined plane helps move heavy objects up or down. An example is a ramp.
  • The wedge is wide at one end and pointed at the other to help cut or split other objects. Examples include a knife or ax.
  • The wheel and axle consists of a rod attached to a wheel. A wheel and axle makes it easier to move or turn things. Examples include bicycle wheels, roller skates, and a doorknob.
  • The screw is an inclined plane wrapped around a cylinder or cone. A common use of the screw is to hold objects together. Examples include a jar lid and wood screw.
  • The pulley is a wheel that has a rope wrapped around it. Pulleys can be used to lift heavy objects by changing the direction or amount of the force. Examples include a flagpole.
  • A compound machine is a combination of two or more simple machines. Examples include scissors, wheelbarrow, and bicycle.

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