I have a love-hate relationship with simple machines. I have taught this concept for almost 15 years and I have never been happy with the way I have presented it…. until now. Have you ever been doing something the same way for so long that is almost impossible to break the rut? This was one of those things for me.
I would give the students the description and show them a few examples and off we would go. I never felt like there was an AHA moment. If you are an educator those are the water you are looking for after the drought, am I right? I knew I needed to do something, but I just wasn’t figuring it out. Until now.
Figuring out my problem.
I have a problem with jumping from memorization to application to quickly. That has definitely been the problem here. I would show them simple machines and then say let’s build a Rube Goldberg machine or something else.
I was encouraged by education theory to leave it totally open ended, but without a little more direction leading up to it… we were all frustrated. Yet again, missing the AHA moment that every instructor wants their learners to have.
If you have taken any education courses, scaffolding is a buzz word. But it is a buzz word for good reason and it is not emphasized enough in practice.
We O.K. I sometimes struggle with understanding how much and how to scaffold the information and still leave the room for AHA. Please tell me I am not the only one with the struggle? Please?
My simple machine fix.
I think I have found a good plan for simple machines. The right mix of learning and exploration. There are six basic simple machines and you probably start working with kids in kindergarten talking about some of them. In this awesome freebie for you, there are a couple projects to help you and your kids get to the AHA moment.
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This is the build up for a creative project with application of their new simple machine knowledge. This part will take 2-3 lessons of about 30-45 minutes each to complete. Simple machine stations with data sheets (and labels) and a simple machines mini-book are included.
We did the stations first after a brief introduction. I did the stations with my kids, but that would depend on your kids background knowledge and level of independence (and ability to work together).
We made the mini-books to reinforce what they learned at the stations. Each mini-book has a space for notes/drawings, description sheet, and an illustrated cover.
The kids got to work and experiment with the simple machines. For examples, they got to move the fulcrum, load, and effort. I got the AHA moment(s) I was looking for.
Part two will be a guided project where the kids will build a contraption using simple machines. This will be a Rube Goldberg style contraption with more guidance.
Part three will be to create a leprechaun trap using simple machines. I will have a challenge just for that one where the kids can share their project with other homeschoolers.
Are you interested on getting this download?
Provide your name and email below in order to have the simple machines download sent directly to your inbox. I will send part 1 right away and will keep you updated as parts 2 & 3 become available, but you don’t have to participate in the other two parts to get the immediate value from this section.
You can find other great downloads by clicking the image below for Free Homeschool Printables Week.