How are skyscrapers built? What makes it easy to chop up vegetables? What makes a propeller on an airplane turn? Simple machines make the things in everyday life work. Scientists define a simple machine as a device that alters either the direction or force of an object. In other words, they magnify, or enlarge, the amount of force that someone can apply to an object so that it takes less work to move it. These simple machines are often used in more complex devices, like airplanes and cranes. There are six primary types of simple machines: pulley, screw, inclined plane, wheel and axle, wedge, and lever. These simple machines are used in more complex devices every day, making tasks much easier.

Simple Machines

Simple machines make tasks simpler by reducing the amount of effort it takes for humans to perform certain tasks.

Overview of Simple Machines

Levers, pulleys, and inclines all have one thing in common: they reduce the amount of energy it takes for human to move or lift objects. This site explains the terms used when talking about simple machines and what students need to know about them.

Simple Machines and Machinery

For older students, this introduction to machines explains how they work as well as the difference between machines, simple machines, and mechanisms.

*Examples of Simple Machines

See examples of how the simple machines are used in things people use every day.

*Gadget or Simple Machine?

How many everyday gadgets are actually simple machines at work?

All About Simple Machines

This collection of links has a lot of information about simple machines.

Simple Machines Explained

Simple machines are explained here so that students can understand how they help perform tasks more easily.

Pulleys At Work

Find out the purpose of a pulley and a variety of ways to use them. There’s also a list of common machines which use pulleys as part of their mechanism.

*Build a Pulley

Want to build a pulley? Go to this website to learn not only how to build one, but which one to build for the particular task.

Pulleys All Around Us

Pulleys are all around. See some examples of simple, everyday items that use pulleys, like window blinds.

Pulley Experiments

Want to do some simple experiments with pulleys? All it takes is some simple household items, like a rope, a broom, and a friend.

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