Carolina® Simple Machines: Pulleys Kit
Grades 6–12. Students build the following pulley systems:
- 1 fixed
- 2 fixed, 1 movable
- 3 fixed, 2 movable
To further challenge students, teachers are provided instructions to build a more complex pulley system using 4 different lengths of rope, 4 movable pulleys, and 1 fixed pulley. In this system, only 2 rope segments support the load. Counting ropes to determine the mechanical advantage does not work. Challenge students to explain why and calculate the mechanical advantage.
Extend this lesson by:
- Combining student groups to create a new pulley system and determine its mechanical advantage
- Investigating how pulleys can be used to multiply distance
- Presenting information on how pulleys are used in various careers
- Creating a picture collage of pulleys in action to incorporate an artistic element (STEAM)
Students build 3 different pulley systems using fixed and movable pulleys. For each system, they measure the force needed to lift a load, calculate the mechanical advantage, and calculate the percentage of efficiency. Materials support 10 groups of 3 students. A ring stand, ring, hanging mass set, spring scale, and meter stick for each group are needed but not supplied. Includes teacher's manual with reproducible student guide.