Simple Machines Project

I recently stumbled upon a webquest site about Simple Machines and thought part of the project was very interesting. The task was to find and explain simple machines in common stories:

  1. In the book Little Red Riding Hood what simple machine does the woodman use? Is it dangerous? Why or why not? Are there any other simple machines in this story?

  2. What simple machine would have helped the people in the story of The Enormous Turnip ? What is it? Does it work efficiently? Is it easier to use a short handle or a long handle?

  3. Cinderella uses a broom. What kind of simple machine is that? What other simple machines does she use?

  4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs use several simple machines. Which ones helps the dwarfs with their work? Which simple machine did Snow White use? ( Hint, hint "wishing well")

  5. Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman shows us a grandfather using a simple machine to make many things. What did he use and what did it help him make? Who copied him?

  6. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas show the little wolves using simple machines to build houses to ward off the Big Bad Pig. Tell about them.

  7. Old Bear by Jane Hissey What simple machines did the toys use in this story ?

When a child reads any of those stories they focus on the story, the reading, the comprehension, etc. Seldom are they thinking "Wow, Cinderalla used a simple machine when she swept the floor" or "That woodman should be cautious with that wedge!" We would hope that when questioned they can produce that information but the reality is that with some students you would be sadly disappointed. With the movement for the next AYP indicator being Science we all must begin to think this way and teach our children to think this way. If nothing else, I hope this post makes you think about how you begin interdisciplinary units like the one above. Once you have your idea in place, let us (or your system IT) help you pull in the technological tools to make the project a success.

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