Simple Science Machine Experiment
 
for The Advanced ESL Student Preparation Goal To Take The Science GED Test
Louise Roarty
Introduction| Task |Resources |Process |EvaluationConclusion | Credits and Resources | Teacher's Notes

Introduction

This experiment is designed to have you see how a simple science machine works, and also to help prepare you for part of the science GED test. One goal in your life is to pass the GED. Understanding the way simple machines work is very important to reaching that goal.

In this experiment you will become a scientist whose job it is to make a machine that measures the science word called work. You will find out as a scientist that the word work means force times distance. You will be able to then show what work means to  your fellow scientists with your new simple machine. You will also be able to meet your goal to prepare for part of the GED science test. Finally, you will be able to ask what is a simple machine, and what does the word "work" mean?

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The Task

The end result of the your experiment will be the ability to define what the science term work means and  how a simple machine can change work. This is a simple preparation for part of the science GED test. You will complete a simple experiment using the formula for a simple machine, which is the following:

Your work expressed as Force (F) X Distance (D) = The work the simple machine expressed as  Force  (F) X Distance (D) : F X D = F X D

Using the formula, F X D = F X D, you will then be able to take the data and determine how a simple machine can change the result of work.

Resources

You will need a strong box with a height of two feet, a tape measure, labels, a scale, a a board of three feet (3 ft)  in length, a second board five feet (5 ft) in length, a third board ten feet (10 ft) in length, a large toy car, a journal or log, and pencil to record the data and results.

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The Process

1. A group of three or more students ( student A, student B, and Student C) will  gather, label measurements and name boards, scale, box, and toy car.

2. Student A - In your journal, list the formula for work (See above). This information should be placed on three separate pages in your journal, one for the two-foot board, one for the three-foot board, and one for the five-foot board.

3. Student B, and Student C - set up the box with the board's end resting on the end of the box and the toy car at the ground base of board.

4. Student A, you calculate the simple machine work put in by writing down length of board and height of box where board is resting on end.

5. Student B - weigh the toy car on the scale. Student A - record the weight in the journal.

6. Student A - place the weight of the toy car in the formula under the  "Machine work put in" category as Force (Force x Distance)

7. Student C, you place height of box in formula under "Machine work put in"  category as Distance (Force x Distance)

8. Student A - Calculate the "Machine work put in" category by multiplying the weight of the car by the height of the box. Record the answer.

9. Student A - Now divide the answer by length of board used, and record answer. This will give you the "force you put in." Now place this answer in the formula "Work you put in" under force ( Force x Distance).

10. Student B- Multiply "Work you put in" Force by the length of the board ,which would be the "distance" part of the formula for "Work you put in", and record answer. ( Force x Distance).

11. Students A, B, and C- Repeat process for all three pages that have different board measurements.

12. Student A, B, and C - In you journal, report if there is a change in the work you put in relation to the length of the board. Also, write down any new science words and definitions that you learned while doing the experiments.

With this information, you may organize all three experiments as individual experiments or as a group of experiments in which you add more boards with different lengths. The information that is recorded in your journal may be set as a list of data, table format, or any other organized structure. The final part of your data should include what happens to the work calculations and results as you use different size boards for your distance.

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Evaluation

Your experiments will be evaluated as a group effort with emphasis on the data collected.

 

Evaluation Rubrics

CATEGORY

4 Grade A

3 Grade B

2 Grade C

1 Grade D

Plan

Plan for machine is neat with clear measurements and labeling for all parts.

Plan for machine is neat with clear measurements and labeling for most parts.

Plan for machine provides clear measurements and labeling for most parts.

Plan for machine does not show measurements clearly or is otherwise not labeled well.

Data Collection

Data for machine is taken several times.

Data for machine is taken twice.

Data for machine taken once.

Data for machine not taken.

Information Gathering

Accurate information for the machine is taken from several sources.

Accurate information for the machine taken from a couple of sources.

Accurate information for machine taken from a couple of sources but not in order.

Information for machine taken from only one source and/or information not accurate.

Construction -Materials

Appropriate materials for machine were selected creatively in ways that made them even better.

Appropriate materials for machine were selected and there was an attempt to make them even better.

Appropriate materials for machine were selected.

Inappropriate materials for machine were selected and machine performed poorly.

Function

Machine functions extraordinarily well, holding up under all kinds of stresses.

Machine functions well, holding up under normal stresses.

Machine functions pretty well, but gets worse under stresses.

Fatal flaws in machine function with complete failure under stress.

Journal/Log - Content

Machine Journal provides a complete record of planning, construction, and testing.

Machine Journal provides a complete record of only construction, and testing.

Machine Journal provides detail about testing only.

Machine Journal provides very little information.

Scientific Knowledge

Explanations by all group members indicate a clear and accurate understanding of simple machines.

Explanations by all group members indicate a relatively accurate understanding of simple machines.

Explanations by most group members indicate relatively accurate understanding simple machines.

Explanations by several members of the group do not illustrate much understanding of simple machines.

 

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Conclusion

You should be able to use the result of the data provided for each experiment to understand that when a simple machine measurement is changed, the result of the work you must put in is changed. You will find that the shorter the board used in the simple machine, the more work you will have to do to push the toy car up the board toward the box. You have also learned the formula for a simple machine ( Work you put in-Force x Distance = Work the machine puts in - Force x Distance). This experiment will provide valuable information for you to help you prepare for part of the science test for the GED and also give you a good introduction to basic physics. This experiment should also encourage you to study and prepare in more areas of the science GED test as an educational and personal goal.

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Credits & References

  1. http://www.webquest.sdsu.edu/templates/lesson-template1.htm

  2. McGraw-Hillís Pre-GED, Gallagher et al.,2003, New York, NY

Teacherís Notes

This experiment, used along with McGraw-Hillís Pre-Ged Reference, which is stated under Credits & References, also provides illustrations for the GED student and advanced ESL student. The use of these illustrations is optional, but they are a good study tool for the GED and advanced ESL student.

Be sure to review the vocabulary and other elements of the Webquest with ESL students before assigning them the experiment.

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