House of Science provides hands-on science lessons and kits, which are delivered to school fortnightly.
Room 2 has been learning about measurement, and how to use mathematics to understand the world around us. The ‘Simple Machines’ kit provided an opportunity to apply measurement skills in real life situations, as well as learning about how simple machines create mechanical advantage to make work easier.
Wheels and Axles: this lesson began with measuring and recording the diameters of various sized wheels. The rotation of the wheels were marked on a surface with two dots, then the distance between those dots was measured using a ruler. Through this activity, Room 2 were able to practice measuring lengths, and were introduced to the concept of how size affects motion.
Incline Planes: this exploration provided insights into the role of angles in mechanical advantage. A force meter was used to measure the effort required to lift a 500g weight vertically. An incline plane was adjusted to 3 different positions. At each position, the 500g weight was dragged up the inclined plane using the force meter. Students observed that the force (effort) decreased as the angle decreased.
Pulley Systems: pulley systems were a firm favourite. Collaboration was key, as five distinct pulley systems of varying complexities were constructed. The force required to lift a 500g weight was recorded, and compared using each of the systems. Sam and Trey enjoyed constructing the pulley systems so much that they spent some time designing their own systems after the lesson had finished.
Levers in Action: lever systems became the focus as Room 2 tinkered with different fulcrum positions and saw the forces at play. The key learning in this lesson was recognising that lever systems are versatile and can be fine-tuned by adjusting the fulcrum position.
Fluid Power: this lesson involved using plastic tubing, a 10ml syringe, and a 5ml syringe to create a pneumatic system. Pushing one syringe at a time, students developed an understanding of how pressure and volume work together. The process was repeated with water, highlighting the difference between hydraulics and pneumatics. Despite the numerous water spillages, and difficulties pushing the tube onto the end of the syringes, this experience provided a lot of laughter and enjoyment. Room 2 learned how to measure liquid volume with a syringe and also gained insights into the applications of fluid power in everyday life.