Math and Science with Mr Taylor
Principles of Engineering
Understanding Leverage
First!!!  Click here and download copy of the rubrics

Save these rubrics to your POE folder
and print a hard copy as reference
Understanding Leverage Lesson Student Objectives:

  • Collaboration and brainstorming
  • Planning, documenting and predicting outcomes
  • Testing ideas and documenting
  • Reflecting and improving ideas, understandings or designs
  • Self directed experimentation
  • Calculate leverage components
  • Calculate mechanical advantage
  • Explain importance of levers
  • Explain mechanical advantage

Part One (Experimentation):
Read the following and do the experiment as delineated below.  Document all of your trials in your journal with illustrations and/or a table to log various positions of fulcrum.  After working with  the experimental conditions for a while with your partner, follow the directions about refelcting on what you have learned.
To the left is an example of a first class lever.

Although there are other arrangements for levers...other classes...We will focus on the first class lever for the purposes of this experiement.

    • Ruler (will act as the lever)
    • Pencil (one or more taped together will act as the fulcrum)
    • Washers or nuts (all same size and weight used as E effort and R resistance/load)
    • Engineering Notebook (used to document all variations on lever and observations)
    • Computer (used to blog about final analysis and reflections on learning)


Students will form various arrangements of a first class lever (fulcrum between E and R) with the load R at various distances from the fulcrum with each variation being recorded by using graduations on the ruler.

For each arrangement the following shall be recorded for analysis:

·         The length from the fulcrum to the load         LR
·         The length from the fulcrum to the effort       LE
·         The number of washers used as the load        R
·         The number of washers used as the effort      E


After a variety of tries (at least 6 with fulcrum closer to the Effort and 6 more with fulcrum closer to the load) data will be looked at (within groups) to see if any patterns emerge.

After 5- 10 minutes of group discussion whole class shall compare their observations and theories on what the data might be suggesting. 

Go to Understanding Leverage Blog and write about your experience.  read the directions on the blog and respond fully and with detail.  Short answers usually hold little to no be thorough.

Part Two (Application):
After the class presentation then look at the worksheet below...use the experimental information combined with our recent class discussion to attempt to complete the linked worksheet activity below.
If you are having trouble working these problems out...then try the links below:
If you are secure with these problems or want to extend your knowledge or challenge yourself, then click the links below and explore the sites for a while.  After a while you can try some of these problems / questions below:

Extention Exercises (To be done in your journal):
o    List an additional three examples of each lever

o    List an example(s) of some compound machine made of:

       - 2 simple machines

       - 3 simple machines 

       - 4 simple machines

o    For each of the above examples list the simple machines they are made of

o    For each of the following examples describe where these simple machines exist within the complex machine and how it is used as a part of the process the complex machine is used to accomplish

Now that you have finished all of the activity...go to your EnGrade acount and check your messages for your final exercize.  After completing the assignment message it back to Mr. taylor for evaluation and comment.