Fixed Pulley Definition: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Is a Fixed Pulley?
  • 1:00 How Does a Fixed Pulley Work?
  • 1:40 Examples of Fixed Pulleys
  • 2:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Michelle Jones

Michelle has taught at the elementary level and has earned a master's degree.

Can you imagine having to climb to the top of a flag pole to put a flag up? Thankfully, because of pulleys we don't have to do that. This lesson explains what a fixed pulley is and how useful it can be.

What Is a Fixed Pulley?

Three boys hanging out in a tree house want to compare their toy car collections and are trying to figure out an easy way to get them to the top of the tree house. They've put them in a bucket, but there are so many cars that it's now too heavy for them to lift over their heads, and if they drop the bucket someone could get hurt. Luckily, one of the boys remembers learning about pulleys in science, and he suggests using one.

A fixed pulley is a simple machine that uses a wheel with a groove in it and a rope that fits into the groove. The other end of the rope attaches to a load, or the object you're needing to move. In the boys' case, the load is their bucket of cars. They find a grooved wheel and a rope and get to work.

The boys use a hook to attach the pulley to a piece of wood so that they don't have to hold it. A fixed pulley is different from a movable pulley because the wheel does not move. The rope simply moves over the groove of the wheel when force is applied (when the rope is pulled).

How Does a Fixed Pulley Work?

The point of simple machines is to make work easier. In this case, the pulley isn't decreasing the amount of force the boys must use, but it is changing the direction of the force. Think of a seesaw: when one end goes down, the other goes up.

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