Inspired by their exploration of simple machines, the girls in Grade 2 build structures and then created a fence to protect them from spectators. The project is an example of the integration of mathematics and science.
Experimenting with Simple Machines
The Grade 2 girls experimented with simple machines in the classroom and in the Design Tech Lab this spring. They explored how the six different simple machines function, and they designed and constructed their own structures using simple machines. They also connected this science investigation to mathematics by designing and building a fence around the machines to protect them. This series of photos shows how the girls used recycled materials in the Design and Tech Lab to construct their machines, and then make adjustments and experiment on inclines and within boundaries.
Using Mathematical Thinking to solve Authentic Problems
The girls created their machines in the Design Tech Lab, but they were thrilled to bring them up to the classroom to display. However, they quickly realized that the machines were placed in a high-traffic area of the room, and, therefore, often got stepped on and knocked over. The girls decided they needed to build a fence to protect the machines. This problem was incorporated into the math unit about measurement.
How Do the Six Simple Machines Help Us? What Our Students Say
“Pulleys pull things up. The workers could attach something on it and it would pull it up to the next level.”
“Screws help us screw things into the walls. If we didn’t have screws, you would just have to stick it in or use tape. If it was wood, the tape would not be strong enough.”
“A lever is like a cannon ball because you can put something on it. Levers help you to bring things up.”
“A wedge can help you when stopping a door from slamming.”
“Inclined planes move things from a higher level to a lower level.”
“Wheels make your car move. If not, it would just sit there.”