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Lever free experimentation

Freely experiment with a group of materials that can be used to make levers.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Physics: Motion and Forces, Newton’s Laws, Gravity (K, 2, 6)
Physics: Simple and complex Machines (5)
Science topic (2005 curriculum connection): 
Physical Science: Force and Motion (grade 1)
Physical Science: Forces and Simple Machines (grade 5)
  • a variety of lever bars e.g. paint sticks, extra jumbo popsicle/craft sticks
  • a variety of fulcrums e.g. pen caps, stiff cardboard tubes (e.g. foil/cling wrap inside tubes)
  • a variety of loads e.g. ping pong balls, paper to make into balls

I have run this activity after introducing levers to students: I show the lever bar, the fulcrum and the load. Show how they can change the position of the fulcrum. Then the students free play with the materials, centred around the lever concept.

Encourage them to make chains of levers or see saws.

This activity is fairly chaotic. For a more structured exploration on the effect of fulcrum position in levers see lever experimentation: projecting a ball or Balance point on a stick or ruler.

Grades tested: 
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Teaching site: 
General Gordon Elementary Science Club
ProD for Elementary teachers
Activity originally developed and delivered: 

Gordon Elementary Science Club