Simple Machines – Levers and Pulleys (Week 5)

This is the fifth and final part of our Simple Machines hands on science unit. In this unit we have talked about the six simple machines: inclined plane, wheel & axel (including a close up on gears), screw, wedge, lever, and pulley.
Simple Machines Levers and Pulleys - Hands on unit for kids with lots of science experiments and activities

In case you are just joining our Simple Machines Unit for Preschool, K-5th grade, here is what you've missed:

More Simple Machines for Kids


Simple Machine #5 – Lever

A door is a type of lever. Depending on where you push on it, it takes more or less force (effort) to move it.  Some examples of a lever include the back side of a hammer, catapult, shovel



Lever Experiment for Kids

simple lever experiments for kids

We tried an experiment to show how levers work. We used a ruler, Lego Duplo as our fulcrum, and a book. Then the kids pushed down on the opposite end.

We experimented how moving the fulcrum (the tension point in the middle of the ruler) made lifting the book either harder or easier depending on which way you moved it. Having the fulcrum closest to the object we were lifting made it easiest .

This video does a great job of explaining how a lever words and comparing it to another simple machine.

Ever since our Medieval Ages history unit my kids are even more into castles. So we just had to make the common middle ages lever – a catapult.

Simple Machine #6 – Pulley

A pulley is a simple machine with one or more grooved wheels connected by a rope. It is used for lifting, lowering, or moving objects. Some examples of pulleys include cable cars, ski lifts, playground zipline, and more.


Pulley Experiments for Kids

single pulley hands on experiment for kids

We made a simple pulley to send messages back and forth across the room. This kids thought it was hilarious!

Multiple pulleys make jobs easier

Then we tried an experiment using several pulleys. By having more than one pulley it made the job easier.

This experiment allowed our 4 year old preschooler to pull the rope at the end so that despite mommy and daddy pulling the sticks apart, they went together easily with just her little bit of effort.

K’Nex Lever & Pulley

K'next Education Levers and pulleys for simple machine unit
To reinforce both the simple machines we learned about his week (levers and pulleys) we used this fun, hands on K’next Education Lever & Pulleys

More Science Activities for Kids

Beth Gorden
Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is a homeschooling mother of six who strives to enjoy every moment with her kids through hands-on learning, crafts, new experiences, and lots of playing together. Beth is also the creator and author of 123 Homeschool 4 Me where she shares 1000+ free printables, creative homeschool lessons, crafts, and other fun ideas to help preschool and homeschooling families have fun while learning and exploring together.