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Carolina® Simple Machines: Levers Kit


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Grades 6–12. Students learn there are more to levers than just seesaws and scissors as they explore first-, second- and third-class levers. This kit is a great introduction to the world of simple machines.

Lesson objectives:

  • Observe the mechanical advantage of a lever.
  • Calculate the mechanical advantage, ideal mechanical advantage, and percent efficiency of 4 different levers.
  • Classify levers as first-, second-, or third-class.

Extend this lesson by having students:

  • Measure the effort distance and resistance distance, to compare the work input to the work output
  • Use force sensors and graphing software for data collection and analysis
  • Create picture collages of levers encountered in everyday life (home, playgrounds, schools, sports fields, etc.), which incorporates art into the lesson (STEAM)

Teach the fundamentals of levers, a simple machine we encounter in our everyday lives. Students construct first-, second-, and third-class levers; measure the force needed to lift a load for each class; then calculate the mechanical advantage and efficiency of each. Kit includes instructions and levers for 15 student pairs. Needed but not supplied for each pair: spring scale, meter stick, 200-g hanging mass, and ring stand and clamp.


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