Simple Machines!
Teacher Resources

Simple Machines! With 25 Science Activities for Kids

By Anita Yasuda  
Illustrated by Tom Casteel
You might not think you’re using a simple machine when you zip up your coat, but it’s true! Simple Machines! With 25 Science Projects for Kids introduces readers ages 7 to 10 to the six simple machines recognized as crucial to human civilization: planes, pulleys, screws, wedges, and wheels and axles. Hands-on science projects, essential questions, links to primary sources, and more get kids excited about STEM learning!

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Library Thing
"Simple Machines is written for students to follow along and learn that everyday items in our lives such as a zipper and a fork are simple machines. The reader can make their own movable pulley as well as design a new invention. There are instructions for building a helicopter. They are encouraged to use their minds and imagination to figure out levers, inclined planes, wheels and axels, screws, wedges, and pulleys. This would be a great book for Science Fair projects or a beginning engineer resource for the younger grades. There are projects throughout this book as well as a timeline and a glossary in the back. Glossary words are highlighted in red and the student can look for the definition in the back of the book. I would recommend this for any collection looking for information on engineering for the younger grades or a resource for science projects." 4 Stars

School Library Connection
“Simple machines are a part of the science curriculum at multiple grade levels.  This book opens with a general explanation chapter and then includes an overview of forces, levers, inclined planes, wheels and axles, screws, wedges, and pulleys.  The book ends with a glossary, metric conversion chart, resources, essential questions, and an index.  The illustrations make it easy to understand the concepts and the text gives additional details.  Each chapter shows some historic use of the simple machine in addition to its current uses. QR codes are dispersed throughout and send readers to videos with additional info.  The projects will help youngsters get excited about the concepts and keep their hands busy.  Budding inventors, makers, and scientists will find this a volume they can use on their own to hone their skills.  Teachers will use it to help meet science standards.  Reading the book makes for a fun experience because it encourages so much action. Recommended

Praise for a previous edition of Simple Machines!

National Science Teachers Association
“This is not your usual activity book. Written for the student, with inquiry in mind, the explanations are simple and easy to follow, and there is an explanation of what is happening and questions to extend the learning. I would use this book with young scientists in my class, and I would also put the materials in a center for young children to explore, make, and do . . . I honestly didn't think simple machines were fun or easy to understand. This book changed that for me and for my students.”

Teacher Resources

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Detailed Book Description

Does your coat have a zipper? Did you eat breakfast with a fork? You’re using simple machines!

From butter knives to seesaws, rolling pins to catapults, we are surrounded by simple machines! Simple Machines! With 25 Science Projects for Kids astounds readers with the ingenuity they already possess and inspires them to look differently at the objects they use every day.

What do a fork and an axe have in common? How do pulleys get a flag up a flagpole? Simple Machines introduces kids to the concept of mechanical advantage and harnesses kid-power by inviting them to build machines of their own design. This book also opens eyes and minds to the diversity of machines in their lives, and sparks the imagination with challenge, humor, and achievable projects.

Simple Machines! dedicates a chapter to each of the six simple machines that were identified centuries ago: levers, inclined planes, pulleys, screws, wedges, and wheels and axles. Kids develop analytical skills as they figure out where force is applied and what kind of work it generates. Essential questions, fascinating facts, and links to online primary sources make student-led learning fun and productive!

Through science-minded STEM projects and investigative engineering experiments, kids develop critical and creative thinking skills about the roles simple machines play in our world and their importance to human civilization.

Try these hands-on engineering projects!

  • Make Your Own Movable Pulley
  • Design a New Invention
  • Make Your Own Helicopter
Available In:
Hardcover, $19.95
Paperback, $14.95
Includes: Table of Contents | Glossary | Resources | Index
Specs: 8 x 10 size | 4-color interior | 96 pages
Subject: Science


What Are Simple Machines?

Chapter 1
All About Forces

Chapter 2

Chapter 3
Inclined Planes

Chapter 4
Wheels and Axles

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7