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Combined Simple Machines: Pulleys

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Simple Machines

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Lesson Focus

Combined Simple Machines: Pulleys

Physical Science

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Students observe the mechanical advantage derived by using simple machines (pulley systems) in daily life. Students explore how pulleys affect the force required to lift an object and investigate how a small force can be used to lift a larger load.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Know the uses of simple machines.
  • Know the advantages and disadvantages of simple machines.
  • Understand the uses and combinations of simple machines in complicated machines.
  • Know that simple machines can be used to change the direction or size of a force.

Everything You'll Have Covered

Simple machines allow humans to reduce the amount of force needed to do work. Simple machines include inclined planes, levers, screws, wedges, wheel and axles, and pulleys. A pulley system is made of a rope, chain, or belt wrapped around a wheel, and is used to lift objects. There are two main types of pulleys: a fixed pulley, where the wheel is attached to a ceiling or wall, and a movable pulley that can move with the load or object to be moved. In addition, you can use multiple pulleys to further increase the mechanical advantage. Mechanical advantage is the load divided by the effort.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 20 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with the force displacement and with the definition of work.
Course Physical Science
Type of Tutorial Concept Development
Key Vocabulary displacement, fixed pulley, movable pulley