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Simple Machines
Lab 2 - Lever

Teacher Portal


Launch the Engage Section

ACTS is what the teacher will do and ASKS is how the teacher will facilitate.

  1. Introduce the concept of work to students.
  2. Present to students a heavy book on the desk.
  3. Show the students you are attempting to lift a book with one finger. 
  4. Use a ruler and pencil to make a lever to lift the book. Place the pencil under the ruler roughly in the middle and the book on top of the edge of the ruler. Press down on the opposite end of the ruler to lift the book. Once demonstrated, allow students to try.
  5. Change the position of the pencil while lifting the book.
  1. Have you ever had to push, pull, or carry something heavy? Was it hard? You were doing work. Work is a task that requires effort to complete it. Do you think you need to be strong to move objects?
  2. Do you think that you can lift a book with one finger? (Allow the students to try if books are available).
  3. It’s taking me a lot of effort to try to lift this book, I am doing a lot of work. Work is a task that requires effort to complete. It would require a lot of force for me to lift this heavy book.
  4. How can using a lever make the work of lifting an object easier by decreasing the amount of force required to lift it?
  5. Do you notice anything different when the pencil moves? This is called the pivot point when talking about a lever.

Getting the Students Ready to Build

Levers are used to move and lift heavy objects by reducing the amount of force required to lift the object. Today, we will use VEX GO Kits to build a Lever and investigate how a lever makes work easier.

Facilitate the Build

  1. InstructInstruct students to join their team, and have them complete the Robotics Roles & Routines sheet. Use the Suggested Role Responsibilities slide in the Lab Image Slideshow as a guide for students to complete this sheet.
  2. DistributeDistribute build instructions to each team. Journalists should gather the materials.
  3. FacilitateFacilitate building process.
    • Builders can begin building. If there are multiple builders, they should alternate steps to complete the build.
    • Journalists should assist with build instructions as needed.
    VEX GO Lever
    VEX GO Lever
  4. OfferOffer suggestions and note positive team building and problem solving strategies as teams build together.
A VEX GO character

Teacher Troubleshooting

Facilitation Strategies

  • Allow students to “play teacher” when they have a good understanding of a concept that they can teach another student.
  • Remind students of the value of diversity—that different students within the group can bring ideas that should be considered. Diversity can help contribute to good problem solving techniques.
  • If students are struggling to understand what a pivot point is, reference a seesaw or teeter-totter. Have students imagine if the Disks were on one side and the pins were on the other. How would that affect the seesaw?
  • Use the Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! PDF Book and Teacher’s Guide - If students are new to VEX GO, read the PDF book and use the prompts in the Teacher’s Guide to facilitate an introduction to building and using VEX GO before beginning the Lab activities. Students can join their groups and gather their VEX GO Kits, and follow along with the building activity within the book as you read.