Levers for Kids: Types & Examples

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  • 0:04 What is a Lever?
  • 0:40 Types of Levers
  • 1:56 Common Levers
  • 2:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jeremy Cook

I have been teaching elementary school for 16 years. I have extensive experience in lesson and curriculum development and educational technology.

Have you ever played on a seesaw with a friend and thought how easy it was for you both to lift up and down? In this lesson, you'll learn all about levers, like seesaws, that can make play and work easier.

What Is a Lever?

Levers are some of the most important machines around. In fact, they are all around us. A lever is a long, sturdy body that rests on a support called a fulcrum. The fulcrum is the place where the lever pivots. It is one of the three parts or actions that work together in a lever.

The load is the object that is being lifted or affected. In a seesaw, whoever is being lifted up is the load. Depending on what kind of lever you have, the load might be lifted in different ways.

In order to lift a load, there has to be a force acting to move the load. That force, such as a kid pushing down on a seesaw, is called the effort.

Types of Levers

There are three types of levers. They differ from each other based on where the effort, load, and fulcrum are placed along the body of the lever.

Class 1 Lever

In a Class 1 lever, the fulcrum is in between the effort and the load. In this lever, the load moves in the opposite direction from the lift. The seesaw we've been talking about is a Class 1 lever because each kid takes a turn acting as the lift and the load, with the fulcrum sitting directly in the center.

Class 2 Lever

In a Class 2 lever, the load is in between the effort and the fulcrum. Here, the load moves in the same direction as the effort, so when you lift up, the load lifts as well. Have you ever seen or used a wheelbarrow? If you have, you've used a Class 2 lever. When you dump dirt in a wheelbarrow, it becomes the load. The wheel at the front is the fulcrum, and you become the effort when you lift the handles. The fulcrum allows you to lift a heavy load with less effort.

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