Simple Machines (Gr. 5)


Students review the six types of simple machines, and engage in discovery activities using levers to understand how simple machines make work easier.  Students also use wood-working tools to discover the simple machines that are "hidden" in everyday objects. The program includes a tour of the Museum exhibits to identify how simple machines have been applied to different mechanisms. 

Links to Nova Scotia Dept. of Education Curriculum:

Specific Learning Outcomes (Science):

  • Describe examples of how simple machines have improved living conditions and identify machines that have been used in the past and that have developed over time (105-5, 107.8, 205.8)
  • Use simple machines to identify the effort and load required to move objects (205-2, 206-9, 303-17)
  • Design a lever for a particular task and differentiate between the position of the fulcrum, the load, and the effort (303-18, 303-19)
  • Discover how simple machines are incorporated into common hand tools, and how they work.


90 minutes

Program Capacity

  • 2 classes (50 students)
  • 1 chaperones for every 10 students



Program Outline

Arrival:  Bathrooms, hang up coats

5 minutes: Welcome and introduction
Students are divided into small groups to take part in the tour and activities, and each group participates in all components of the program.

40 minutes: Tour of Museum Exhibits
Students tour the Museum galleries, focusing on how wheels, levers, screws, inclined planes, pulleys and wedges are used as both simple and complex machines. Examples of each are found in the Museum’s exhibits, models and artifacts.

40 minutes: Lever Discovery Activity
How can less effort move a greater load? In small groups, students use levers to explore the concepts of load, effort and mechanical advantage that are the basis of all simple machines. Students also use basic hand tools at a work bench to discover how simple machines are used in everyday tools.

5 minutes: Conclusion and dismiss

Information and Reservations

To reserve your program, please call: (902) 755-5425 or email

Registration will begin in September. We encourage you to book early