Innoventions

KS3
Duration 1h 15min

Levers, pulleys, gears and cams are all examples of simple machines that can be used to make work easier. In this engaging, fun and very hands-on workshop students will investigate different types of simple machine. Activities include lifting a teacher with one finger, launching a helicopter and getting the attention of their servant! The workshop culminates in a challenge task where teams construct and use a model catapult.

Audience

KS3

Activity

Workshops

Key Words

Invention. Machines. Levers. Pulleys. Cams. Gears. Forces. Mechanics. Effort. Load. Pivot. Fulcrum. Mechanical Advantage Design.

Learning objectives

  • Recognise how simple machines can be used to make work easier.
  • Appreciate that levers, pulleys, gears and cams can transform forces.
  • Understand that complex machines are comprised of simple machines working together.
  • Understand the basic scientific principles behind the functioning of each machine type.
  • Experience first-hand the advantages gained by using simple machines.
  • Investigate the structure and functioning of a catapult.

Content. Students will:

  • Learn about different types of ‘simple machines’ and the scientific principles they employ.
  • Gain direct, hands-on experience of levers, pulleys, gears and cams.
  • Have the opportunity to volunteer to take part in entertaining role-play activities that illustrate the functioning and benefits of different machines.
  • Work in small teams to investigate a range of activities, including using levers and pulleys to lift heavy loads and change the direction of a force as well as using gearing to launch a helicopter.
  • In teams, assemble, optimise and deploy a model catapult to launch an object towards a target.

Curriculum Links

Science

  • Analysis and evaluation
  • Apply mathematical concepts and calculate results
  • Energy changes and transfers
  • Simple machines give bigger force but at the expense of smaller movement (and vice versa):
  • product of force and displacement unchanged.
  • Forces
  • Forces as pushes and pulls, arising from an interaction between two objects

Design and Technology

  • Understand how more advanced mechanical systems used in their products enable changes in movement and force.

Potential Hazards

  • Flying objects and heavy weights, all used under supervision and with careful instruction.

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