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Introduction: Next in the line of simple machines for students is the wedge. In Lesson 3, students will learn that a wedge is simply two inclined planes laid back to back. Additionally, students will be presented with common, everyday wedges and what they are used for.
Curriculum Subject and Topic: Science—Simple Machines
Estimated Duration: 30 minutes
Grade Level: 3

Curriculum Goals: Ohio Academic Content Standards

Lesson Objectives: Students will


Accommodations for Special Learners

Setting the Stage

  1. Collect items from around the classroom that serve as wedges.
  2. Have ready the door stop/wedge and a medium-to-large towel.
  3. Print copies or prepare a projector to display the wedge diagram to show how a wedge is two inclined planes laid back to back.
  4. Make a copy of the wedge worksheet for each student.
  5. Students will need to have a page ready for their Unit Journals to discuss their learning during the lesson.

Lesson Activities

  1. If you feel it would be beneficial, reshow the wedge video from the Intro lesson to remind students about wedges. A key takeaway from this lesson for students is that wedges are made from two inclined planes, showing how even simple machines are very related to one another.
  2. Either distribute copies or project the wedge diagram for students. Walk students from the top of the document to the bottom. Call attention to the individual inclined planes and the resulting wedge.
  3. Take a couple minutes to share with students different wedges from around the classroom or school, pointing out for students what makes each item a wedge. Be sure not to share wedges that appear on the wedge worksheet. Discuss with students how the wedge acts as an inclined plane when the simple machine is used.
  4. Ask students how wedges make work easier. if necessary, demonstrate for students how it is easier to stop your classroom door open using a wedge than a towel or cloth of some kind.
  5. Distribute the wedge worksheet to each student. Give students five to seven minutes to complete the activity.

Wrap Up

When students have finished their wedge worksheets, take a couple minutes to go through each image to identify the wedge portion of each Clip Art image. Also, call on students to share their answers to the questions at the end of the worksheet. Remind students to make corrections as appropriate during the discussion. End the lesson by having students redraw and label the wedge diagram discussed during the lesson. Students should be able to show how two inclined planes come together to create a wedge.

Supplemental Activities: Extension and Remediation

Apple Faces: Depending on the time available, or if students show a need for further practice with the role of wedges as simple machines, create faces on apples using carrots and toothpicks. Cut several carrots into wedges, small circles, and half circles. Have students use the parts of the carrots to create faces. They can use the wedge-shaped carrots without toothpicks. For the rounded carrots, they will need to use toothpicks to connect the pieces. Describe for students how the carrot wedges and the toothpicks make building the apple faces easier, lessening the work required.

Assessment and Evaluation

  1. Unit Journal Entry: Evaluate student diagrams. Make sure each includes two labeled inclined planes and a wedge. Provide feedback or support as necessary..
  2. Wedge Worksheet: Evaluate the students' responses to the worksheet. Again, provide feedback as appropriate for students.

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