Simple Machines

Learn all about simple machines and how to make them. Experiment with inclined planes, levers, and books ramps to make your own marble run.

Next week, we will combine these simple machines with littleBits!

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lever.gif

Session Details

Inventions: Marble Run using inclined planes and levers

Theme: Simple Machines

Time: 2 hrs

Materials:

  • Mentors will need to bring a connected device (phone, ipad, or computer) to access instructional videos.

  • Cardboard

  • Tape and/or Hot Glue

  • Scissors

  • Small ball (like marbles, bouncy balls, round beads, etc…)

  • Books

  • Toilet paper tube (optional)

Quick Resources:

 

Meet Up

10 min

PAIR OFF & CATCH UP

  • Discuss what your mentee explored on JAM.com since last session. What topics did they find interesting and why? Did they participate in any challenges.If possible, take a look together.

 

Inspire

10 min

INSPIRE: Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist, engineer, and inventor who created chain reaction contraptions to perform simple tasks. He inspired many inventor’s to make their own Rube Goldberg machines, like Joseph Hersher. Check out this machine he made to make lunch more efficient.

PROMPT: When you are experimenting with simple machines today. Think about how you can string them together to make a chain reaction.

DISCUSS/CAREERS: Mechanical engineering


Invent!

60 min

MACHINE BASICS

Get started by watching these intro videos:

  1. Intro to Simple Machines

  2. Machines Vocab

 

INCLINED PLANES / RAMPS

Watch these videos:

  1. Ramp Overview

  2. Inclined Plane

  3. Make an inclined plane

  4. Book Ramp

  5. Marble Run

Mini Challenge #1

Build two simple inclined planes. You can use cardboard or found objects. Test rolling a small ball down the ramps. Which ramp is faster?

Mini Challenge #2

Create a marble run by building a series of book ramps. See how many levels you can create.

 

LEVERS

  1. Lever Intro

  2. Making a Lever

Mini Challenge #3

Build a lever out of cardboard or found materials. Place an object on one end of the lever and experiment with what weight you need to cause it to tip.

REMIX (if time)

Mini Challenge #4

Create a marble run that uses both inclined planes AND levers. Try to come up with as many actions as possible for your ball to move through.

Mini Challenge #5

Try to use your simple machines to create different sounds. This is a hint for next week’s session ;)


Reflect

10 Min

DISCUSS WITH YOUR MENTEE:

  • Something your mentee knew about the invention beforehand and something new they learned

  • How you can string these simple machines together to make a chain reaction contraption?

  • How they could use these inventions to generate different sounds? For example, marbles bouncing off a tin can makes a “ping” sound. Could you create an instrument this way?

 

Group Share

[Optional]

10 Min

MENTEES SHARE

  • Share what you made and the different ways you can imagine stringing them together.

  • Share some ideas for ways you could use these simple machines to make different sounds or instruments.

 

Wrap Up

5 Min

CLEAN UP

  • If using littleBits, make sure you have all the parts shown on the side of the box and put them away in the box for storage.

  • Note: Some of the parts you created today could be nice to use in the upcoming sessions, however, not necessary. Please check with the site coordinator to see if there is a place to store them.

 

Next Steps

5 min

SUPER IMPORTANT HOMEWORK

  • Before next session, your mentee should go on JAM, select a new topic that sounds interesting, participate in 1 challenge, and upload to the community. You will discuss it next time!

 

Log Your Session

FEEDBACK FORM

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THANK YOU!