Learning about Simple Machines

Posted on Dec 12, 2018
Learning about Simple Machines

A long time ago, way before phones, TVs, and the Internet, even before electricity, people had to make do with simpler solutions to life’s commonplace problems. When the folks of times past needed to move something, lift something, or break something apart, they had to rely on simple machines.  We still rely on simple machines today too, for example when we need to get our cow friend to a cow party. We’re serious… keep reading:

Moving things from one place to another

If you had to move a big old cow from one end of the street to the other, how would you do it? You surely couldn’t lift it, or throw it, or teleport it. We guess you’d put the cow on a special cow skateboard and roll it on down the road.

A Simple Machine Problem!

Want to know how to move this sleepy cow? Could a simple machine be the answer?

What simple machine makes this possible? The wheel!

The wheel is made up of an axle and a round, doughnut-shaped wheel. Pop the wheel over the axle and voila!

Moving things from low to high

Now we need to help the cow move from low to high. Again, you can’t lift it. You’ll have to use another simple machine – this time an inclined plane.

The inclined plane – what you might know as a ramp – connects lower ground to higher ground to make it easy to move between the two.

Lifting things off the ground

How would you lift a cow off the ground? Here’s a great solution, and a simple one too: a lever!

A lever is made up of a fulcrum and a bar. It’s basically a see-saw. One side goes up, and the other side goes down.

Lifting something really high

Imagine if you had to lift a cow up the side of a cliff. Think that’s impossible? Think again.

A Pulley in Action!

Pulleys are magic! Go cow go!

All you need is a rope and a wheel – together they create a pulley, allowing you to lift just about anything up and above your head. It’s like magic.

Breaking something apart

The cow’s path is obstructed by a giant, heavy rock. How can you break it in half, so our cow friend can pass through? Oh, and no power tools allowed!

Here’s the answer: grab two inclined planes, join them together to create a wedge, and hammer the wedge into the rock. Now that’s an ingenious simple machine.

Holding something in place

How can we join one thing to another or hang a sign? There’s a simple machine for that too.

Imagine a shaft with spiral thread and a flat top. You got it – it’s a screw that you turn around and around. The screw IS a simple machine!

Watch the video and join the cow party

A Cow Party!

Yes this IS REALLY what a cow party looks like!

Start learning about simple machines. Or even start teaching simple machines. Either way, click below to watch our Simple Machines video. Don’t forget to wear your cow-party-best and be ready to sing along!


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