STEM in the GYM Simple Machines

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Blend physical and STEM education with simple machines in the gym!

Think STEM is just for the classroom? Think again! STEM in the GYM is an innovative program that encourages students to get up and get moving while learning about physics! Blending physical activity with learning leads to higher engagement and better comprehension of lessons. Promote kinesthetic learning using working models of simple machines that reinforce abstract concepts such as force, load, and work with physical and visual representation. Whether harnessing the mechanical advantage of a pulley to reel in a friend or experiencing the splitting power of a wedge between two tumbling mats, students will love the hands-on activities that are possible with STEM in the GYM. Students break out into small groups to take lessons—and simple machines—into their own hands, using teamwork and collaboration to hit home concepts and practice independent learning. Contents lists below.

Simple Machines Options:

  • Big Gears Demonstrator. Let students experience the powerful mechanical advantage of pulley systems! One large and one small gear demonstrate the difference in force required to pull a student when gearing up or down. Rubber feet are safe for use on most surfaces. 46"L x 23"W x 6-1/2"H; 36 lb.
  • Screw Hatch. Mimicking the hatch of a spacecraft for added fun, the Screw Hatch teaches students how a screw device can reduce the amount of force needed to perform work. Students can define a "screw" by discovering the power of an inclined plane wrapped around an axis for multiple turns. 16"L x 16"W x 16"H; 10 lb.
  • Wheel & Axle Demonstrator. Teach students about mechanical advantage in relation to the radius of the wheels and their axle. Students walk or crawl as they push the axle demonstrator with their hands, realizing how much easier it is to move with it than it is on their own. 25"L x 7"W x 7"H; 3-1/2 lb.
  • Wall Pulley Package. Demonstrates a simple pulley system, which changes the direction and intensity of a force. Includes large screw eye, latch, pulley, and 25' rope.
  • Seesaw Lever. Have students balance on the seesaw by themselves to see how the lever responds to shifts in their weight placement. Then have multiple students load up the seesaw to demonstrate a new type of balance. Move the fulcrum up and down the lever to create situations of uneven balance. Wood construction. 23-3/4"L x 8"W x 2-3/4"H; 5-1/2 lb.
  • Soft Wedge. Learn about minimizing force required to separate items due to the mechanical advantage of a wedge! Wedges reduce the force required to separate two objects or even portions of one object, and students can experience that first-hand to drive home the lesson. Soft, durable wedge is safe for splitting anything, including 2 students standing shoulder-to-shoulder! 3-1/4"L x 2"W x 2"H.
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