Frequently Asked Questions
What are the vocabulary words we will need to have word cards for in this Science Course?
lever: a simple machine that people use to gain a mechanical advantage, such as making work easier
lever arm: is a stick or beam free to pivot at a point
fulcrum: is the point where the lever arm pivots
load: the mass lifted or the resistance overcome by a lever
effort: is the force needed to move a load or overcome a resistance
newton: effort is measured by Newtons
two-coordinate graphs: show relationships between two variables
advantage: is a benefit obtained by using a lever (or other simple machine)
Class-1 levers: have the fulcrum in the middle and the load and effort at the ends
Class-2 levers: have the load in the middle and the fulcrum and effort at the ends
Class-3 levers: have the effort in the middle and the fulcrum and load at the ends
Diagram: is a drawing that describes the relationship of all the parts of a system
pulley: is a wheel with a grooved rim in which a rope can run to change the direction of the pull (force) that lifts a load
fixed pulley: has a wheel that is attached to something above the load
movable pulley: has a wheel that is attached to the load
mechanical advantage: reduces the effort (force) needed to lift a load or overcome a resistance; it results from using a simple machine
directional advantage: is a change in direction that results from passing a rope through a pulley
simple machine: is any of the six basic devices that provide mechanical or other advantage, such as pulleys and levers.
What is the timeline for this Unit and how long should I take for each investigation?
Can be found on page 16 of the manual, The Lever and Pulley Overview.
Should I read the Teacher Background and Student Background pages?
Yes, both of these resources give you clear direction with examples of what knowledge the students will be learning. It may be useful to copy and share parts of either of these resources with your class.
The book suggests using groups of four students. Is this the best method?
We have found that you get students more involved when they are put into teams of two. Classroom management is eased when the teams are arranged, and “materials people” are selected to come to a central location to get the necessary equipment or supplies.
You want me to put materials in Middle School kids’ hands?
It is important to provide hands-on activities for this age group. Using manipulatives increases the probability of students learning concepts. However, you need to be very clear on the standards on how the materials will be used or not used before, during and after the lessons.
How should I manage the materials?
It is useful to have a student(s) set up the materials needed for the upcoming lesson(s) in a central location. “Materials people” come and get the needed supplies from this central location.
How do I track students’ work? What kind of assessment can I use?
Use the check sheets provided in the assessment duplication masters. Alternatively, you may want to keep track of all student work on a spreadsheet or electronic grading program. Student journals are an excellent means of providing an on-going system of student progress. The assessment section of the Levers and Pulleys manual gives a thorough overview of the types of assessment used, and ways to assess students for the entire unit.
I don’t have a lot of time - do I need to read all those Science stories?
It is not imperative that the Science stories are read, but they are an excellent resource for supporting the concepts in the unit. Use the stories as time permits. Another reason the Science stories are important is that many students do not have a lot exposure with this type of non-fiction reading. These are the stories we highly recommend to be read to the students:
• Simple Machines
• Class-1 Levers
• Wheel and Axle
• Class-2 Levers
• Class-3 Levers