Lovely Levers

Contributor: Nichole Brooker. Lesson ID: 11835

Did you know machines are made up of machines? Even your body has machine parts, in a way, but you're not a robot! Learn about - and make - a simple machine called a lever, that works like a see-saw!


Physical Science

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What do you picture when you think of a "machine"? Do you know the man below is using a machine? Do you know what this machine is called?


What was your answer to the question above?

Did you think it was a stick? Did you think it was a shovel? It is actually a lever! Discuss with your parent or teacher what you thought it was and why.

As you read through this lesson and watch the video below, write down three examples of levers that you use. These can be levers you use every day or every once-in-a-while.

A lever is a simple machine. Simple machines are tools that are used to make a difficult task, such as moving a heavy object, easier. Simple machines can operate without a computer or electricity.

Tools are things that people use to perform specific jobs. A lever is a bar that moves around a fixed point. For example, in the picture below, the black bar is resting on a green triangle, called a fulcrum, to help lift the heavy rock:


A lever can change the direction of the movement of an object. For example, a shovel is one kind of lever. You push down on one end of the shovel and the other end will lift up rocks, dirt, or snow, like in the picture below:


One of the simplest ways to lift a heavy object is by using a lever. Levers work by increasing the pushing force underneath the object so a large load (object or person) can be moved with a small effort.

Have you ever played on a see-saw?


This is a perfect example of a lever. When one person sits on one side, the other side is lifted.

Pretend you want to lift your friend up because he needed to reach something high. Could you do it by just standing still and lifting him? Probably not; but if you used a lever, like a see-saw, you could stand on one side while he stood on the other, and you could lift him with your body weight, not your muscles.

Besides the flat board or stick, there is another part to a lever, and that is called a fulcrum. This is the resting point of the lever.


As you watch the SciShow Kids! video (below), be sure to add each of the levers to your list of levers that you started at the beginning of this lesson. Check out Super Simple Machines: Levers to see how levers can help you every day. As you watch, see if you recognize any levers that you use or have used recently:


Now that you have a better understanding of what a lever is and how it makes work easier, move on to the Got It? section to try a simple trick!

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