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Lesson Plans

Simple Machines

  • Lesson Plan Creator: Lynne Larson
  • Grades: Grade 2, Grade 3
  • Subjects: Science, P.E.
  • Part of Class: Creative Movement
  • National/State Fine Arts Standards: Create, Perform/Present, Connect, Respond

In this lesson plan, students will explore how 6 types of simple machines move.

Learning Objectives/Goals

Students will use creative movement to model the tasks of the simple machines.  Students will work alone and in groups and will use levels, directions and speeds to show the different possibilities for each machine in movement.

Materials Needed

A large, open space, music or a drum


State the goals and class expectations. Set Space boundaries.


What are the 6 simple machines? (wedge, incline plane, wheel and axel, screw, pulley, lever) What actions do they do?  Call each one out and see what movements the students create on the spot!


Talk in more detail about each machine.  Have each student select one simple machine this time and create a more in-depth movement study to show what that simple machine can do. Once again, call out each simple machine and students will move when their machine choice is called.


Divide students into 6 groups.  Assign each group one of the simple machines.  Students will work together to movement to showcase their assigned machine.  Ask them to challenge their idea of what the machine can do.  Use levels, use connection, use speeds, etc. to create.


Each group will show their simple machine study to the group.  Have the audience guess which machine is being shown.

Extension to the Lesson

Try using the whole class to create one simple machine.  Try creating a new machine using the ideas inspired by the 6 simple machines.

Follow Up Resources

Dance to Learn Video Lessons

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What People are Saying

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Opportunities for art and expression are so limited at school but so essential and valuable for all students, especially those who struggle to learn through traditional methods. My Kindergarteners have been dancing since you left!
This was so engaging. I looked around the auditorium and every student was watching. Not one person was talking or distracted
This activity is valuable to teachers and students because it gives them a creative outlet. We need movement in the classroom to engage, energize and deepen student learning.
I got great ideas on how to incorporate movement into math and science lessons.
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Our children were captivated by the performance. They listened to you and they were learning without knowing. They usually giggle when bodies are shown and talked about. But the way you presented it was so tastefully done, they now do poses and movement around the room and outside. You brokesome barriers and they took that permission and literally ran with it!