Unit Title

Simple Machines


Grade 2

Designed by

Jon Banules

Time Frame

6 weeks

Stage 1- Desired Results

Establish Goals

The goal is for students to...

ISTE Standards for Students:

1: Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

c. Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues. (Using games and Tiny Bops)

2: Communication and Collaboration

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

a) Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media (Using class padlets)

b) Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats (Final project/summative assessment)

d) Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems

3: Research and Information fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

b) Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media (Finding out exercises)

c) Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks (Connecting right resources to the right simple machines)

4: Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

c) Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions (using Tiny Bops)

5: Digital Citizenship

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

b) Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity (when engaged in all tech based lessons and activities)

6: Technology operations and concepts

Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.

a) Understand and use technology systems

International School of Phnom Penh Curriculum

Central Idea: The application of scientific principles through the use of simple machines makes work easier.

  • The ways machines and forces work (function)
  • The applications of machines to make work easier (causation)

Science Strands: Forces and Energy

The student will be able to:

The ways machines and forces work (function)

  • Experiment with different simple machines  
  • Explain how the 6 simple machines are used

The application of machines to make work easier (causation)

  • Explain how simple machines help make work easier
  • Experiment with forces to gain an understanding of how they work and how they make work easier
  • Gain an understanding of how the combination of simple machines leads to complex machines



Learners will be able to....

What kinds of long-term independent accomplishments are desired?

Science Skills

Investigate (Hypothesise)

  • Identify or generate a question or problem to be explored
  • Make and test predictions

Plan (Design)

  • Plan and carry out systematic investigations, manipulating variables as necessary


  • Observe carefully in order to gather data
  • Use a variety of instruments and tools to measure data accurately
  • Use scientific vocabulary to explain their observations and experiences

Evaluate (Conclude)

  • Interpret and evaluate data gathered in order to draw conclusions
  • Consider scientific models and application of these models (including their limitations)


UNDERSTANDINGS (From central idea and lines of inquiry)

Learners will understand that...

  • Simple machines have different functions.
  • Forces are exerted upon objects by people and machines.
  • Forces cause motion to occur in different ways.
  • What we understand about simple machines, forces and motion can be applied to our own creations.
  • Forces act upon simple machines and these simple machines then put force on other objects.
  • Function: Everything has a purpose, a role or a way of behaving that can be investigated.
  • Causation: Things do not just happen. There are causal relationships at work. Actions have consequences.
  • When forces work on simple machines, patterned sequences occur.
  • Being aware of patterned sequences that occur as a result of force and the actions of simple machines allows us to create machines for certain tasks.
  • Computers and devices allow us to simulate the real world.
  • Computers and devices increase our abilities to experiment.
  • Real world scientific principles can be simulated and experienced on computers and devices.
  • Computers, devices, and the internet allow us to learn about machines and forces.
  • Computers and devices can be used to model and present our scientific understandings.
  • We can learn about scientific principles in online communities.
  • We can show our understanding in many different ways using technology.

Essential Questions (From teacher questions)

Learners will keep considering...

  • What are machines?
  • How do machines function?
  • How do we experiment?
  • What is force?
  • What are simple machines?
  • How do simple machines make work easier?
  • What are complex machines?
  • How do simple machines compare to compound and complex machines?
  • How do computers and devices help us learn about the world?
  • How do computers and devices help us simulate force?
  • How can we use computers, devices, and the internet to learn?
  • How do we use technology to present our understandings and what we have learned?


Learners will know… (lines of inquiry, concepts)

  • The meanings of vocabulary related to simple machines and science process skills: machines, simple machines, force, forces, gravity, lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, screw, wedge, work, tools, direction, distance, strength, tradeoff, input, output, reaction, effect, causation, experiment, test, experiment, hypothesis, results, observations, combination, causation, function, investigate, design, process, evaluate, measure, infer, classifying, predicting, communicating, variables, length, height, width, variable, dependent variable, independent variable
  • Language functions and key sentence frames required for this unit:


It has….

It looks like….

It feels like….

It sounds like….

This machine has...

This machine is made from...



At the beginning….next….finally

In the beginning….in the middle….in the end


First we...then the (screw, wedge, etc.)...


...is...but...is not…



...can...whereas…. cannot

Though…. can….cannot….

A simple machine has...but a complex machine has...

A screw does...but a wedge does....


….belongs in this category because….

...is part of this group because….

I organized the….by….

You can group these together because….

These are simple machines because...

These are complex machines because...


….is because….

The reason for….is…..

He/she was…..for example…..

I would like to clarify that…..

A screw works because...

A pulley works because...


I think...because….

I believe...because…..


Perhaps….is the reason that….

It’s possible that….

In the experiment I think that .... will happen because...

This might happen because...

Planning and Predicting:

I think…..is going to happen because….

Perhaps the machine will...

Maybe .... will work.

It might be a good idea to use a (wedge) here.


I believe the simple machine works because...

The simple machine makes work easier because...

The more I think about this experiment, I realise that...

After looking at the results, I think that….

After looking at the distance/height etc. I think that...

The pattern of data tells me...

  • That experimenting involves creating questions, making predictions (hypotheses), identifying variables, testing, observing results, evaluating results, altering variables, retesting, reevaluating, etc.
  • That changing variables (increasing the length of levers, adding pulleys, etc.) in an experiment will alter results.
  • That there are apps that can help us learn about real life scientific principles.
  • That “work” in science equates with movement caused.
  • That there are many online communities that will help us learn about scientific principles.

Learners will be skilled at... (ATLs)

  • Describing the characteristics of simple machines.
  • Measuring characteristics of simple machines and results of experiments.
  • Classifying tools as simple machines.
  • Experimenting with simple machines.
  • Observing work done by simple machines.
  • Inferring how work is made easier by simple machines.
  • Analysing complex machines into simple machine components.
  • Communicating the results of experiments with simple machines.
  • Comparing work done by variations of simple machines.

Stage 2- Evidence


Learners will show that they understand by evidence of…

GRASPS Task written in student-friendly language:


You are going to design a complex machine that consists of two or more simple machines that pops a balloon, lifts a cup of water, rings a bell, or pushes a ball into a hole without being touched by a person (at the end).


You are a scientist, engineer, or designer.


Customers who want to buy your machine.


Customers have approached your company with the need for a machine that does one of the tasks from above . You need to use all the materials at your company headquarters (classroom) to create this machine and a brochure (in some form that can go on your company’s website) explaining how the machine works.


the machine, a technical video, and/or an infographic explaining how your machine works in detail. This video or infographic may be made with any of the following: Explain Everything, Book Creator, Adobe Spark, iMovie, Google Slides, Canva, Easel.ly, Piktochart, Infogr.am, Infoto, or Venngage.


Learners will show they have achieved Stage 1 goals by demonstrating their understanding through the Six Facets of Understanding...


Students will explain how simple machines work in online posts involve visuals and oral/written explanations.


Students will interpret the results of experiments with simple machines to come up with working definitions for scientific principals.


Students will apply understandings of force, work, and simple machines in order to use simple machines to complete tasks.

Have perspective

Students will experiment with using different machines to complete different tasks. Students will compare ideas, hypotheses, and results before and after experimenting with peers to gain an understanding how science communities communicate and reach consensus.


Students will think of simple machines that might help people with disabilities or solveable issues.

Have self-knowledge

Students will analyse their own hypotheses and reflect on what they do well and what they need to work on in terms of the basic science process skills: observing, measuring, communicating, inferring, predicting, and classifying.

Stage 3- Learning Plan

Time Frame

Learning Events

Progress Monitoring

Day 1

Tuning In - Provocation

Coke Engineering Challenge or other Rube Goldberg machines.

Students fill out Coke Machine Video and Response Preassessment on iPads.

Day 2

Tuning In - Preassessment (Vocabulary) - Students draw pictures and explain current understanding of the words: machines, simple machines, force, gravity, lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, screw, wedge, work, tools, direction, distance, strength.

Day 3

Tuning In - Think Puzzle Explore in 6 groups. Model doing think puzzle explore with one of the machines. Students rotate around 6 different tables to gain exposure to 6 different simple machines - wedge, screw, lever, wheel and axle, pulley. Students using named stickies add to Think Puzzle Explore chart at each station.
I Think I know this about this object... A question I have about this object is...One way I could explore this object is...

Provide sentence starters at each station: I think this object is for _________ . I think this object is used for __________. I think this object is called __________ . One thing that puzzles me about this object is ____________ . Who...? What...? Where...? Why...? When...? How...? I could explore this object by ____________ . One way to learn about what this object does is to _______________ . (This activity could be done on a Padlet as well.)

Day 4

Tuning In - Experiment with balls. Answer questions: When you push, pull, roll, drop a ball, what happens to the ball. Why? Push, pull, roll down a hill, drop. Students observe what happens to the ball and make iPad videos describing what made the balls move. (Answers will most likely be - “We pushed it. Rolled it...etc.” Videos can be posted to blog or put on the Padlet.

Day 5

Day 6

Finding Out - Students begin connecting names of simple machines to the simple machines and mother tongue descriptions using Bitsboard. Students begin to create their own Bitsboard boards.

Day 7

Finding Out - Begin rotations - Students work through (choice of) rotation activities for each level: Brainpop video, Simple machines Brainpop game, Tiny Bop game for that simple machine, hands on experiments with simple machines. Students complete an experiment procedure, using Google slides, for how to play and playing tiny bop Catapult game. As part of the conclusion on this, students need to reflect on: How do computers and devices help us learn about the world?
How do computers and devices help us simulate force?
How can we use computers, devices, and the internet to learn?

Day 8

Resources / Materials: