Simple Machines Lesson Plan

Overview & Purpose

Students will work together in groups to construct a simple machine, choosing from a pulley or lever (types of simple machines).

Georgia Performance Standards Addressed

S2P3a S2CS5b S2CS4a&b S2CS3a-c


Students will work together in groups to construct a simple machine. The groups will choose either a lever or a simple pulley. The students will first draw a sketch of the simple machine, and then use materials in class to construct the simple machine. Terms such as energy, gravity, and force will be introduced during the lesson.
Simple Machine Materials:

Popsicle sticks String Glue

Markers Thread spools Tape

Paper clips Lego blocks


Using a Rube Goldberg machine, which performs simple tasks in a complex manner, I will show the students how components of the simple machines they construct can be more elaborate. The students will be able to see how the simple machines can work together in a more elaborate and complex way, while still performing a simple task

Other Resources

(e.g. Web, books, etc.)

Here are some websites describing and showing Rube Goldberg machines.


As an activity for this lesson, students will use crayons, markers, and paper to draw a plan for a simple machine (a pulley or a lever).


To summarize the lesson plan I will revisit the concepts behind simple machinery, namely how force and gravity can combine to provide energy for work.

Here’s a great video that has a Rube Goldberg machine that is super-complex and runs for almost four minutes non-stop: