Mechanical Advantage Activities

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

In the context of physics, a mechanical advantage is a measure indicating how much more force is achieved because of the use of a machine. This lesson provides activities that will teach your students about mechanical advantage.

Teaching Mechanical Advantage

If you're a physics teacher who's showing your students the importance of machines, then you'll teach them about the concept of mechanical advantage. Overall, mechanical advantage represents the amplification in force that occurs as a result of using a machine like a lever or gears. As your students come to better understand the concepts behind mechanical advantage, they'll form a deeper awareness of why machines are so important within physics.

To help students understand mechanical advantage, you may want to use some activities as part of your instruction. This will give students a chance to work from their own learning styles and strengths as they internalize new concepts. The activities in this lesson will teach students more about mechanical advantage.

Visual Activities

In this section, you'll find activities well-suited to visual learners, who benefit from images and graphic organizers.

Law of the Lever

Break students into small groups, and introduce them to the law of the lever as one facet of mechanical advantage. Explain that their job is to create a diagram representing how the law of the lever works and what components of the lever contribute to making this law function. Their illustration and labels should demonstrate why the law of the lever is a kind of mechanical advantage.

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