Simple Machine Challenge

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In this activity, learners are challenged, using everyday objects, to create simple machines to complete specific tasks. Learners will discover how simple machines make work easier and how simple machines can be combined to make more complex machines. Learners will also use simple machines to accomplish challenges.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Markers
  • Modeling clay
  • Broomstick or thick wooden dowel
  • Cardstock paper
  • Donut magnets
  • Empty spools (3 per group)
  • Pens
  • Journal or paper
  • Large round funnel
  • Masking tape
  • Milk jug filled with water
  • Rigid rulers
  • Round pencils
  • Small metal items like paper clips
  • straws
  • Tennis balls
  • Thin rope
  • String


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Rotation Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access