One possible school project involving a simple machine is an experiment with an inclined plane. Create an inclined plane (a ramp) with books and, with the use of a rubber band, show that it takes less force to move an object, like a bag of pebbles, up the inclined plane than it does to move it without one. An inclined plane is a flat surface, one end of which is higher than the other.
A simple machine is a machine that has few or no moving parts. The purpose of simple machines is to make work easier by reducing the force needed to perform a task. Examples of simple machines include a wedge, a pulley, a lever and an inclined plane. Use the following steps to complete the project:
- Put together materials and tools
- Run the experiment
- Record and analyze the results
Collect large books, a ruler and a weight. This can be a bag with pebbles or a sandwich bag filled with rice. Tie a rubber band to the top of the bag.
Arrange the books in a pile. Make a ramp between the top of the pile and the table with a large book. Lift the bag by the rubber band to the top of the pile. While the weight is still in the air, measure the rubber band. Next, drag the bag up to the top of the pile on the ramp. While still pulling, measure the rubber band.
Make a note of the measured lengths. The one from the second part of the experiment should be smaller. Explain this fact by the principle of simple machines' work: it took less force to move the bag up the ramp. This is why the rubber band did not stretch as far as in the first instance.