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Simple Machines

Use experiments to teach science

How do simple machines make work seem easier? How do they change the force we put into them? How can changing the direction of a force help us? Explore each of the 6 simple machines using hands-on activities. Calculate how much they multiply force through experimentation or direct observation. Investigate each of the 6 simple machines, levers, ramps, pulleys, wheel & axles, screws, and wedges.

Are Your Students Engaged?

Are you looking for a way to engage kids in their science learning? Are you eager to see your students become scientists in your classroom?

That's the goal of this course...

Activity Highlights

How can levers make it easier to remove a nail from a piece of wood? By using a simple trick, even the smallest student can remove a large nail pounded deep into a piece of wood. Discover how in this unit.


How can a small weight lift a heavy car? By using a ramp! In these activities you'll investigate ramp angles and lengths and use a little math.

Pulley systems are fun to play with after you figure out how to set them up. Some hints and helps are included in the directions.


Lot of books use a child's wagon as an example of a wheel and axle simple machine. BUT, while it has wheels and axles, it isn't a simple machine. Find out why in these activities.

Wrap an inclined plane around a core and what do you have? A screw! Yup, this simple machine is really a version of two other simple machines: one is a ramp, what's the other?


What's Included in the Course/Unit?

    • Written instructions include:
    › Simple directions (written to students)
    › Questions and writing prompts
    › Explanations for the students and teacher
    › Guidance for writing formal lab reports.
    › Scaffolded writing prompts.
    › Answer keys to help with assessing student work.
    › List of materials and setup hints.

    › Course platform with a forum for asking questions if you need further clarification or support.
Enroll in Course for $24

Concepts and Topics Addressed in this Unit:

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​Invite students to become scientists in your classroom

As fellow scientists they need to learn to investigate, discover, measure, observe, examine...

And these skills take time and repetition.


But repeating stuff can be boring…

That’s where labs come in! 

Many of the labs are teaching the same fundamentals but use different materials to keep things interesting.


What if you don’t have time to research the science behind a concept?

I’ve got you covered... Sections in the written instructions and the videos should answer your questions. Here you’ll also find hints and helps for running an activity. Additionally, the Teacher Notes sections will give you plenty of background information. You won’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.

How are these activities best taught?

It's up to you! Most will work well as an all-class activity and many can work as independent station work as well.

Is there anything for early finishers?

You can use some of the activities as independent work by setting them up as stations or task boxes so kids can keep discovering.

When does the course start?

This course is a collection of lessons to use in your classroom. You can start as soon as you sign up!

Can I access these resources from my phone or tablet?

Sure! It works well on any device.​

Do I have to go in order?

Nope! You can use the lessons in any order—I always arrange them in a way I think makes sense, however since students in my classes worked at their own pace, they also tended to do the lessons in their preferred order. Within each section, the lessons progress from concrete to more abstract and from fundamental concepts to more tangential ones.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for teachers to give them hands-on resources to teach middle school science.

Will this course work for homeschoolers?

I think so, though my background is classroom teaching. It’s not designed like a plug and play course. It’s a collection of activities that will help you teach the content.

What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

How long do I have access to the course?

After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course - across any and all devices you own.

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Meet the author...

Hi, I'm Carolyn Balch, the author of Engaging Science Labs. I started my career as a high school physics teacher. Then I entered the field of museum education at the National Air and Space Museum (part of the Smithsonian Institution) where I wrote science education materials and ran teacher workshops. When my children were born, I left the workforce and when they were little, our family got involved with a school start up. My children grew and with them, the school; 


I volunteered on a weekly basis, running science experiments for my son's class and joined the faculty as the middle school science teacher when the seventh grade was added. Now I write full-time, working to publish the curriculum I developed while I was teaching. Each online course is a unit of study from a hands-on, laboratory-experience perspective.

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