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Introduction: Lesson 4 moves onto introducing the simple machine known as the screw. Again, a major takeaway from this lesson is to identify the screw as a type of inclined plane. You will present everyday examples of screws, and students will create their own screw from a blackline master.
Curriculum Subject and Topic: Science—Simple Machines
Estimated Duration: 45 minutes
Grade Level: 3

Curriculum Goals: Ohio Academic Content Standards

Lesson Objectives: Students will


Accommodations for Special Learners

Setting the Stage

  1. Make sure that you have scissors and a copy of the spiral BLM ready for each student.
  2. Have a note card or quarter sheet of paper prepared for each student. Make sure that each paper or note card has writing lines.
  3. Locate a copy of the book Screws by David Glover and have it ready for use in Activity 2.
  4. Collect a couple large screws with the grooves clearly visible.
  5. Search the classroom or school to find examples of everyday screws. Either be prepared to walk students around to see the screws, or take photos and share with students in that manner.
  6. Students will need to have a page ready for their Unit Journals to discuss their learning during the lesson.

Lesson Activities

Actvity 1

  1. As with the previous lessons, revisit the screw video from the Intro lesson if necessary for students to introduce them to the concept of a screw as a simple machine.
  2. Distribute scissors and copies of the spiral BLM to each student.
  3. Direct students to carefully cut the spiral and central pole on the BLM.
  4. Help students attach the central pole to the spiral. (Note: you may want to use pencils or pens instead of the central pole provided on the BLM for students.)
  5. Hold up one of the large screws and discuss how a screw is just an inclined plane wrapped around a central pole.

Actvity 2

  1. If you can locate a copy of Screws by David Glover, read the book to the class, showing students each of the screws and talking about how they are used.
  2. Take students on a tour (or photo tour) of different screws found in the classroom or school.
  3. When you ahve completed the tour, ask students to think about one of the examples of a screw from the tour.
  4. Pass out the note cards or pieces of lined paper. Have students write the following on their pages.
    1. At the top: A screw is a simple machine.
    2. On the next line: This is a ____________.
    3. On the third line: It is an _________________ that curves around a central pole.
    4. On the last lines: This screw __________________________________________.
  5. Give students five minutes to complete the blanks on their pages.

Wrap Up

Remind students that even though a screw is just an inclined plane and a central pole, it is a machine in its own right. Using their Unit Journals, have students describe in their own words how a screw works. If they struggle with the description, suggest that they consider drawing pictures and describing what is in each picture to explain how a screw works.

Supplemental Activities: Extension and Remediation

How Does a Screw Help?: To really understand how a screw makes work easier, you may need to complete a simple hands-on activity with students. If needed, do something such as the following. Find a small piece of 2 x 4 wood. Start several small holes in the wood, just deep enough to allow for your students to be able to screw in a screw by hand, but not too deep. Have students try to push in a nail by hand. Then provide them a screw of equal size. Show them how the screw is easier to insert in the wood by hand. The inclined plane wrapped around the central pole makes the work easier.

Assessment and Evaluation

  1. Unit Journal Entry: Evaluate the students’ explanations on the workings of the screw that the students filled out in the wrap-up activity.
  2. Note Card Activity: Evaluate the students' completion of their note card. Provide feedback as appropriate for students.

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