Build a Lever

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Learners build a lever and use it to lift a load. With the load on one end of the ruler, learners add coins to the effort cup at the other end until the load is lifted. Learners can experiment with moving the effort cup to different locations along the resistance arm and see how that affects the amount of load that can be moved.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Ruler (30 cm)
  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • 2 paper cups
  • A small rock or other weight
  • Handful of pennies


  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Gravity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access