Simple machines are elementary devices that make work easier. They have few or no moving parts but provide a mechanical advantage to accomplish tasks using less effort. Simple machines form the basis of many complex tools and mechanisms students learn about in school.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the six simple machines used in school are the lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, and screw.

In this article, we will go into detail on each of the six simple machines, providing examples of how they are used in school settings to make work easier for students and teachers alike.

Lever

A lever is one of the six simple machines commonly used in schools. It is a rigid bar or plank that rotates around a fixed point called a fulcrum. Levers can be found in various forms, such as seesaws, scissors, and crowbars. They are used to amplify or redirect the force applied to them.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Edmonton Playgrounds (@edmontonplaygrounds)

Definition and Examples

A lever consists of three main components: the fulcrum, the load, and the effort. The fulcrum is the pivot point around which the lever rotates. The load is the object being moved or lifted, and the effort is the force applied to the lever to move the load.

For example, when using a seesaw, the fulcrum is the center point where the board balances, the load is the weight of the people on each end, and the effort is the force exerted by pushing down on one side.

One of the key advantages of using a lever is its ability to provide mechanical advantage. Mechanical advantage is a measure of how much a machine multiplies the force applied to it. In the case of a lever, the mechanical advantage is determined by the distance between the fulcrum and the point where the effort is applied.

The longer the distance, the greater the mechanical advantage. This allows users to lift or move heavier loads with less effort.

Common Uses in School

Levers are commonly used in schools for various purposes. In the science laboratory, lever systems can be found in equipment such as balances and force meters, which are used to measure weight and force.

In the classroom, levers can be seen in items like staplers, scissors, and even pencil sharpeners. Understanding how levers work is important for students to comprehend the principles of physics and engineering.

Wheel and Axle

The wheel and axle is one of the six simple machines used in schools. It consists of a circular object (the wheel) that is attached to a shaft (the axle). This simple machine is based on the principle of a larger wheel rotating around a smaller axle.

It is commonly used in various applications to make tasks easier and more efficient.

Definition and Examples

The wheel and axle is a mechanical device that allows for the movement of objects by reducing friction. It is often seen in everyday objects such as cars, bicycles, and even doorknobs. The wheel is the larger circular part that rotates around the smaller axle, allowing for easier movement.

For example, when you ride a bicycle, the wheels rotate around the axles, allowing for smooth and efficient movement. Similarly, when you turn a doorknob, the circular motion of the wheel helps to open or close the door.

The wheel and axle provides a mechanical advantage by reducing the amount of force required to move an object. By increasing the radius of the wheel compared to the axle, a smaller force can be applied to the wheel to produce a larger force on the axle.

For instance, imagine trying to lift a heavy object without the use of a wheel and axle. The force required to lift the object directly would be much greater compared to using a wheel and axle system. The larger wheel allows for easier rotation, reducing the force needed to move the object.

Common Uses in School

The wheel and axle can be found in various areas of a school, making tasks more manageable and efficient. Here are some common uses:

• Movable whiteboards or chalkboards: The wheels attached to these boards make them easy to move around the classroom, allowing for flexible teaching arrangements.
• Office chairs: The wheels on office chairs enable easy movement and mobility, allowing teachers and students to navigate through the classroom or office space with ease.
• Projector carts: These carts often have wheels to transport projectors from one classroom to another, making it convenient for teachers to share resources.
• Science equipment: Some experiments and demonstrations in science classes require the use of wheels and axles, such as pulleys and gears.

The wheel and axle is a fundamental simple machine that plays a significant role in our daily lives, including within the school environment. Understanding its principles and applications can help students grasp the concept of mechanical advantage and appreciate the importance of simple machines in our world.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Offiscape (@offiscape)

Pulley

A pulley is a simple machine that consists of a wheel with a groove along its circumference and a rope or cable that runs through the groove. It is used to change the direction of a force and make it easier to lift or move heavy objects.

Pulleys are commonly found in various areas of a school, including science labs, gymnasiums, and theater departments.

Definition and Examples

Pulleys are based on the principle of mechanical advantage, which means they can multiply the force applied to an object. They are classified into two types: fixed and movable. A fixed pulley is attached to a stationary object, while a movable pulley is attached to the object being lifted.

Some examples of pulleys in a school setting include the ones used in flagpoles, weightlifting machines, and overhead projectors.

The mechanical advantage of a pulley is determined by the number of ropes or cables supporting the load. A single pulley has a mechanical advantage of 1, meaning it does not provide any additional force.

However, when multiple pulleys are used together in a system called a block and tackle, the mechanical advantage can be significantly increased. This makes it easier to lift heavy objects, such as stage props or gym equipment, in a school environment.

Common Uses in School

Pulleys have numerous applications in a school setting. In science labs, they are often used to demonstrate concepts such as mechanical advantage and the conservation of energy. For example, students might use a pulley system to lift different weights and measure the force required.

In the theater department, pulleys are essential for moving set pieces and creating stunning visual effects. Additionally, pulleys are commonly used in gymnasiums for weightlifting machines, allowing students to adjust the resistance and perform various exercises.

Inclined Plane

An inclined plane is a simple machine that consists of a flat surface that is tilted at an angle. It is one of the six simple machines that are commonly used in schools to teach students about the principles of physics and engineering.

Definition and Examples

An inclined plane allows objects to be moved from a lower height to a higher height with less force. It works by increasing the distance over which the force is applied, which reduces the amount of force required. One of the most common examples of an inclined plane is a ramp.

Ramps are often used in schools to make it easier for students to move heavy objects, such as bookshelves or lab equipment, from one location to another.

The mechanical advantage of an inclined plane is determined by the length of the ramp and the height of the incline. The longer the ramp and the lower the incline, the greater the mechanical advantage. This means that less force is required to move an object up the ramp.

The mechanical advantage of an inclined plane can be calculated by dividing the length of the ramp by the height of the incline.

Common Uses in School

In schools, inclined planes are commonly used in various ways. For example, they are used in science experiments to demonstrate how objects can be lifted with less force using a ramp. In physics classes, inclined planes are used to teach students about the concept of work and how it is affected by the angle of the incline.

In engineering classes, inclined planes are used to teach students about the mechanical advantage of different types of ramps and how they can be used to make tasks easier. Additionally, ramps are often installed in schools to provide accessibility for students with physical disabilities.

Wedge

A wedge is one of the six simple machines that are commonly used in schools for various purposes. It is a simple tool that is shaped like a triangle with a thin edge. The wedge works by applying force to split, lift, or hold objects together.

Definition and Examples

A wedge is essentially a double-inclined plane. It has two sloping sides that meet at a sharp edge. This design allows the wedge to exert a significant amount of force when it is driven into a material or used to separate objects.

Some common examples of wedges include knives, axes, doorstops, and even staples.

One of the main advantages of using a wedge is its mechanical advantage. The mechanical advantage of a wedge is determined by the ratio of the length of the sloping sides to the thickness of the wedge. The thinner the wedge, the greater its mechanical advantage.

This means that a small force applied to a wedge can generate a large amount of force to split or separate objects.

Common Uses in School

Wedges have a wide range of applications in schools. In science classes, they are often used in experiments to demonstrate principles of force and motion. For example, students might use wedges to separate two objects, such as blocks of wood, or to split an object, such as a piece of fruit.

In woodworking classes, wedges are commonly used to split logs or shape wood. They are also used in engineering classes to teach students about the principles of simple machines and how they can be used to make work easier.

Screw

A screw is a simple machine that consists of an inclined plane wrapped around a cylindrical post. It has spiral grooves called threads that run along the length of the post. The inclined plane and threads allow the screw to convert rotational motion into linear motion.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Manufacturing and Production (@manufacturing_and_production)

Definition and Examples

The screw is one of the six simple machines identified by Renaissance scientists. It is commonly used to hold objects together or to lift heavy loads. Examples of screws include the ones used in woodworking, construction, and mechanical engineering.

The mechanical advantage of a screw is determined by its pitch and the number of threads per inch. A screw with a higher pitch and more threads per inch has a greater mechanical advantage. This means that it requires less force to turn the screw and move the load.

Common Uses in School

In schools, screws are commonly used in various applications. They are used in woodworking classes to join pieces of wood together. Screws are also used in science experiments to secure objects or hold equipment in place.

Additionally, screws are used in mechanical workshops for assembling and repairing machinery.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the six simple machines that students commonly encounter and utilize in school are the lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, and screw. Each has its own mechanical advantage that makes tasks easier with less input force required.

Simple machines form the foundation of many complex tools and are important for students to understand as they study physics and engineering.