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Join us in our five week science unit for kids discovering the six simple machines. Lots of hand on activities, book recommendations, free printables, and more! These science activities for kids are recommended for Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students.
Simple Machines - 5 week science unit filled with hands on activities, books to read, and free printables for homeschoolers from preschool, kindergarten to 1st-5th grade

Inclined Planes Simple Machines Lesson

Today we start a new hands on science unit for homeschool kids – simple machines. We will discuss why we need simple machines, simple physics concepts for kids, and discuss the first of the six simple machines – inclined plains. This unit is geared towards Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students.

Keep scrolling to learn more and see the rest of our simple machines for kids study!


Why do we need Simple Machines?

We need simple machines to help us work more effectively. To better understand how machines work, we need to define some physics concepts for kids.

Simple Physics Concepts for Kids

We started out reading some books (the heart of any study). These are our favorites that I highly recommend.


If you have a Preschool or Kindergarten age child joining your Simple Machine Unit they will enjoy Newton and Me. This beautifully illustrated picture book explains the basics of forces and motion in an easy to read rhyming book.

Teaching kids basic physics concepts

Let’s start with a simple hands on science activity to help kids understand the basics of physics.

Put a box of books that is too heavy for your child to lift on the floor. Ask your child to life the box on the table. Once they get past the “I can’t do it” part, have them problem solve how they can accomplish their work.  They can take the books out/move the box/put the books back in or have a friend help them. No matter how they accomplish it, how long it takes, or who helps it is still the same amount of work.

  • When you were moving the box the force of gravity was working against you; making it heavy to lift.
  • You used energy to lift the box.
  • When you worked together you each had to use less power to accomplish the same work.


Simple machines make work easier

Machines make our work easier. Think of how much work it would be to pick up a car to take it to the mechanic if we had to do all the work ourselves. Luckily we have a machine called a tow truck that makes it easier.

What are other types of machines we use?

simple machines - science lesson for kids K-5th grade

Many machines are complex with lots of moving parts, but ALL complex machines are made from six simple machines: inclined plane, wedge, screw, lever, pulley, wheel, and axle. Simple machines have one or no moving parts.

Inclined Planes

An inclined plane is a flat surface with one edge raised higher than the other. They are useful to help moving heavy items from one level to another easier. They include things like hills, ramps, staircases, and so many more!  This book helps kids visualize a whole bunch of inclined planes:


Inclined Planes Experiment

Simple Machines - Inclined Planes Hands on Science for Kids

We used a hands on science experiment to demonstrate inclined planes.

First I had the kids try to carry a suitcase up and down the stairs. (Yep, I made it extra heavy.) Then I suggested we try moving it using an inclined plane like we were learning about. We used a long card table since we didn’t have a box laying around. The kids were amazed at how much easier it was to move the suitcase up the stairs using an inclined plane.


Inclined Planes “Egg”speriment

Simple Machines - Inclined Planes Egg Experiment for Kids

Next we explore how inclined planes reduce force with an “egg”speriment.

I hardboiled three eggs (I didn’t really relish the idea of having egg all over).  One kid dropped the egg straight down. The next used an inclined plane. The third child used a very gradually sloped inclined plane. The kids observed that using the inclined plane, especially the less steep one, helped the egg go down more slowly and become less cracked.


Force Varies by Incline

Exploring Force - Science Experiments for Kids5


We did a third simple machine inclined plane experiment. I explained how force will vary depending on the incline of your ramp just like the less steep egg ramp helped the egg to use the least amount of force and crack less. So we had 3 ramps of increased steepness. We then raced them to see which one would go down with the most force; quickest.

Much to my sons delight, his steep ramp made his car go the quickest of all three cars.
Physicists call this the mechanical advantage. It’s the length of your incline plane (ramp) divided by your height.

I Spy Simple Machines simple machines inclined planes  FREE Simple Machines Game Are you learning about simple machines for kids? These no-prep, free printable simple machines worksheets are a handy way to review what students have learned. Use these simple machines worksheet pages to review and assess what kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students have learned. There are various different choices of simple machine worksheet for learning about pulley, wheel and axle, inclined plane, wedge, screw, and pulleys. Simply print the simple machines at home worksheet and you are ready to go!

Simple Machines for Kids

100 Amazing Food Experiments for Kids - so many clever edible science projects for kids of all ages to explore chemistry, biology, physics, and earth science! #scienceexperiment #scienceproject #kidsactivities capillary-action-science-experiment-for-kids DIY Lava Lamp - super easy way to make your own lava lamp with simple things you have around your house. This homemade lava lamp is such a fun science project for kids of all ages to sneak in some summer learning. This science experiment is for toddlers, preschoolers, pre k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and kids of all ages at home, homeschool, summer camps, classroom, etc.

Fun Science for Kids

Looking for lots more fun, science experiments for kids? You’ve GOT to try some of these outrageously fun science experiments for kids! We have so many fun, creative and easy science experiments for elementary age children:

Your kids love mazes, but they've never seen something as incredibly COOL as this  maze potato! This potato maze will blow kids away as they watch potatoes grow, learn about plants and their need to head towards the light. This plant activity for kids is perfect for spring or summer learning. All you need to try stem activities are a few items you probabaly have around the house to try this plant experiments for kids from preschool, kindergarten, pre-k, first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd graders too!  There are certain science projects that make you go WOW! This color changing flower activity is one of those! Children learn about capillary action for kids with this amazing, colorful flower experiment. Try this colour changing flower experiment with toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade and 4th garders too. Simply print pdf file with food coloring flower experiment worksheet and you are ready to play and learn with flower science! Are you learning about plants with your kids? Most children learn about plant life cycles and sprout a seed, but this photosynthesis experiment allows students to learn about photosynthesis for kids is a very simple, easy plant experiment. This photosynthesis activity is fun for all ages from preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and up.

Plant Activities for Kindergarten

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