IS 364 Students Learn About Simple Machines


In March, IS 364 students in Laura Saccomanno’s sixth grade science class studied simple ma-chines. The children discussed devices such as: a wheel and axle, pulley, blinds, lever, wedge, and inclined planes with their teacher. Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman decided to integrate their simple machines lesson with the tools found in gardens and farms.

“What simple machines can you find in a garden,” Roytman asked the students. Some said a wheel for the wheelbarrows, while others said a screw for the garden beds. “Why do you think these simple machines, especially a wheel, were helpful to the farmers,” Roytman inquired.

Amaya Garcia raised her hand and politely explained that a wheel helps move heavy things. Roytman applauded the answer, and asked the students to use a scale to measure the weight of a bucket filled with seeds. She then instructed the class to take turns carrying the bucket across the classroom. Each time the bucket was brought back to the scale more weight was added until it became too heavy to comfortably lift.

Roytman showed the class how important wheels are to a gardener. Since the students were in a small classroom, Roytman substituted a wheel barrow with a chair to show how gardeners and farmers trans-port heavy material from various parts of their land. “That’s how farmers and gardeners are able to move soil and heavy tools all around,” Roytman said.

The sixth graders had fun taking turns pushing the chair, which contained a bucket filled with seeds and two textbooks, across their classroom.

Photos by Amanda Moses