Main Idea: Close observation and sketching lead to a better understanding of how simple machines work.
Learning Objectives: Observe a gadget closely from several angles while it operates. Identify the elements, the simple machines, that are combined to make the gadgets. Show how the moving parts in machines relate to and affect each other. Create a clear diagram of how a machine works.
Time: approx. 30 minutes with one machine per group
Materials: paper, pencils with erasers, a selection of small machines with visible working parts (the more you have, the better): egg beater, cork screw, car jack, can opener, garlic press, tongs, monkey wrench, hand drill, Vise-Grips, the mechanism from a music box, wind up toy, pencil sharpener, stapler
Teaching Tip: Encourage students to draw systematically, starting at one point and drawing each part and connection in order. Emphasize that this kind of drawing, a