Simple Machines (Gr. 5)

Program Highlights

Lift, move, power, connect and shape. The program, led by Museum interpreters, is designed to support Grade 5 Science curriculum outcomes for the Forces and Simple Machines unit. Students review the six types of simple machines, and engage in discovery activities using levers to understand how simple machines make work easier through mechanical advantage.  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 and compound machines have been applied to different mechanisms.

Curriculum Outcome Links

Outcome 3: Students will explore forces and mechanical advantage by designing common simple and compound machines.

  • Explore the effects of forces on motion
  • Locate examples of simple and compound machines used in daily life
  • Investigate common simple and compound machines, and the relationship between the two


90 minutes

Program Capacity

2 classes (60 students maximum)

1 chaperone for every 10 students


September – June

Program Outline

Arrival: Bathroom, hang up coats

10 Minutes: Welcome and Introduction

Students are divided into two small groups to take part in the activities. Each group participates in all components of the program.

35 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. Students also use basic hand tools at a work bench to discover how simple machines are used in everyday tools.

35 minutes: Lever Discovery Activity
How can you use less effort to 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.

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!