Constructing Simple Machines in Second Grade STEM Class

Our second grade STEM students, at Allendale Columbia School, have been working on constructing simple machines including: levers, pulley systems, wedges, inclined planes, and wheel & axle systems. Throughout their hands-on and problem solving activities, our students continue to explore and apply the concepts of effort, force, friction, load, motion, and distance. In addition, our STEM students learn about, construct, and investigate the differences between first, second, and third class levers. Students also learn about the important function of the fulcrum as the pivot point for the effort and load. As our young students also discovered, first and second class levers let you move heavy loads with little effort, while third class levers take more effort but can move loads a long distance.


Most exciting of all, students make relevant connections with identifying the many, real world applications for each of the simple machine systems they are currently studying. For instance, when constructing their first class lever, students easily connected a see-saw, and when constructing a pulley system, students shared their personal connections with using pulley systems for rock climbing, pulling window blinds open or closed, and so on. No matter the connections made, students come to understand that simple machines ultimately make work easier!