A machine is a tool used to make work easier. Simple machines are simple tools used to make work easier. Compound machines have two or more simple machines working together to make work easier. 
Simple Machines - Pulley Wheel and Axle Gear Lever Inclined Plane Screw Wedge
Compound Machines  - Stapler - lever, wedge. Can opener - lever, gears, wheel and axle, wedge. Wheelbarrow - wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane. Hand drill - wheel and axle, gear, screw, lever.
- Simple Machines includes good explanation of types of gears
- Simple Machines - Create simple machines to trade distance for force in this challenge game!
- Rube Goldberg - Best known for his “inventions”, Rube’s early years as an engineer informed his most acclaimed work. A Rube Goldberg contraption – an elaborate set of arms, wheels, gears, handles, cups and rods, put in motion by balls, canary cages, pails, boots, bathtubs, paddles and live animals – takes a simple task and makes it extraordinarily complicated. He had solutions for How To Get The Cotton Out Of An Aspirin Bottle, imagined a Self-Operating Napkin, and created a Simple Alarm Clock – to name just a few of his hilariously depicted drawings.
One of the fundamental simple machines is the Inclined Plane, explained by BrainPOP’s Tim & Moby
There are plenty of examples of uses of the inclined plane throughout history
- building the pyramids
- loading a ship floating next to a dock
- screws for fastening pieces of wood
- door stops
Engineering Design Challenge : Inclined planes in action
Look for places around you where Inclined Planes would solve a problem or make life easier for someone. Ask questions and find information to come up with your solution.
Each question corresponds to a step in the Engineering Design Process.
- What? (Ask questions, understand the need, identify the problem) - Inclined planes are used in many different applications. They are the solution to a broad range of problems. Look around.
- So What? (Imagine, brainstorm, explore) - Inclined planes can replace other structures such as stairs, for example.
- Now what? (Plan, design) -
- Do It (Create, try it out) -
- If this then what? (Improve, make it better) -
Engineering vocabulary, concepts
Show and Tell
Now it is your turn. Use your imagination to explain the need and to show and share your solution. Here are some challenges for you to work on... Make a model. Draw a diagram. Make a video. Give a presentation.
- Simple machines