Kids honed their engineering skills at Steampunk Science this spring holiday. Class kicked off with an exploratory trip to the Cable Car and Museum. We observed the inner mechanics of the Cable Car which uses many different simple machines to work. This makes it a compound machine. It was really interesting to see all the moving parts and how they fit together. We were even able to hold a piece of cable similar to the cable used to pull the cable car.
We then headed back to the Space Place to build our own simple machines! Before students could begin collecting supplies they sketched out their plan. We ended up with a wide variety of machines, but they all fell into two categories: pulleys and levers.
Mistakes were made throughout the building process, but that’s all a part of learning. By asking questions and being persistent everyone was able to work through the sticky bits.
Questions to Keep the Learning Going:
- What are the different parts of a pulley?
- What is a fulcrum and why is it important in a lever?
- Where should you place the fulcrum in order to make it easier to lift a load?
Where might you find pulleys, levers, and ramps in your daily life?