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Teaching Artifacts

Electronic Portfolio of Angelique De Mille Serrette

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Unit Plan:


Three-Week Unit Plan:


Name: Angelique De Mille-Serrette                                  School:  St. David’s R.C.

Grade Level:  Standard Three                                            Subject:  Science – Simple Machines

Dates of Unit:  01/10/05 – 01/28/05







Lesson 1 – Hold on Don’t Get Pushed Around

In this lesson students explore gravity and forces in their school experiences. Students identify gravity as a force that attracts objects to the center of the earth. Students identify a force as a push or a pull. They identify work as a force, which changes motion.






When studying about force, students can use various forms of measurement.


Lesson 2 – The Lever 

In this lesson students begin their exploration of machines by identifying levers. They learn that machines reduce the force needed to do a job. Students experiment and build a lever using materials provided. 

Students experiment how to move the fulcrum to change ease of operation.   





Students utilize various other materials in the construction of levers

Lesson 3 –. The Lever 

In this lesson students experiment with uses for a lever and conclude that it allows work to be done using less force.  Students demonstrate knowledge of which levers work best in a given task.






Students can measure the distance the object moves and the distance the lever must be moved.




Be Prepared – A story adapted from the Reading text


Lesson 4 – The Inclined Plane

In this lesson students identify an inclined plane as one of the six simple machines. They design and use a ramp measuring the amount of force needed to lift an object with and without the ramp. A spring scale is used to make accurate comparisons.




Social Studies


Students can imagine and research what life was like before simple machines were used and how they have changed society.


Lesson 5 –Going for Higher

In this lesson students move the inclined plane to different heights using different fulcrums to note ease of operation. Students predict and then check to see what type of inclined planes are the easiest and most difficult to move up.  Students use what they have learnt to make generalizations about ramps for wheel chairs. 




Application Beyond School


Have students look at the Trinidad and Tobago Charter for People with Disabilities and then conduct a survey of the school in order to identify places where ramps and curb cuts are needed.


Lesson 6 – Wheel and Axle

In this lesson students identify the wheel-and-axle as a simple machine. Students experiment in moving heavy objects from one place to another by utilizing rollers. They ascertain that a wheel reduces the amount of sliding friction.




Social Studies  

Discuss the origination of the wheelbarrow in China. 

Briefly present geography and how the wheelbarrow originated. 

Language Arts

Students write an essay about how the wheel has helped humans.


Lesson 7 –

Heave Ho!

In this lesson students experiment and discover the best way to lift a variety of objects using a hanging pulley tied to a board and a pulley that moves along a string attached to a board.  They ascertain that the moving pulley attached to the board requires less force since the board supports half of the weight.  The first pulley acts as a seesaw with the force on one end being equal to the weight of the resistance or load. 



Lesson 8 –

The Pulley

In this lesson students identify that a pulley changes the direction of a force. Students conclude that less force is needed to lift an object when two pulleys are combined in a pulley system.




Application Beyond School


Students can explore how pulleys are used in many ways in and around the home and community. Curtains are opened and closed using a pulley. The school flag is raised and lowered using a pulley. Old-fashioned wells use pulleys to get water. Construction sites use many kinds of pulleys for lifting heavy materials.




Students can average individual results and graph the force for one and two pulley systems.

Lesson 9 – The Wedge and Screw 

In this lesson students identify the wedge and screw as simple machines. They investigate ways these tools are useful concluding that they make some kinds of work easier. Students identify various tools as examples of wedges or screws.




Social studies  

Examine how wedges have aided man historically.  Examples are stone knife, arrowheads, and wooden stakes to stretch hides. 

Students list the many varied and unusual ways that wedges were used in the past and compare this list with today's uses.

Lesson 10 –What a combination! 

In this lesson students explore how simple machines can be combined to produce compound machines. They examine common objects and toys to find several simple machines in each.




Application Beyond School


Students can make a chart showing the number of simple machines and compound machines they use in a single day.


Social Studies


When people multiply the work they can do, they increase productivity. This allows a higher standard of living.



Lesson 11

Using Simple Machines

In this lesson students investigate simple machines on the playground. They study how a lever and an inclined plane can be used to change effort.




Application Beyond School


Students can continue their investigation of simple machines by searching for their uses within their school, their home, and their community.


Social Studies


Students can imagine what life was like before simple machines were used and how they have changed society.




Lesson 12

Which Machine Is Best?

In this lesson students are given situations requiring the use of a simple machine. Students must determine which simple machine best suits the situation, offer reasons for their choice and demonstrate the use of that machine in the situation as evidence that their choice was best.




Computer Technology


Students can explore the various designs and uses of simple machines.



Lesson 13

Compound It

In this lesson students design their own compound machine. They identify a task that must be completed and determine what the machine must do to complete the task.  Students then assemble all materials that they will need for their machine. (To be continued on the next day)



Lesson 14

Compound It - 2

In this lesson students use the materials, which they had collected the previous day to construct their compound machine using the design, they developed. 




Language Arts


Have students write an instruction manual on how to use a particular simple machine. The manual should include a pre-chosen task, a section on how to choose which simple machine will work best, and how to operate that machine.



Lesson 14

Tell About It  - Science Fair

In this lesson students design a presentation that illustrates their engineering process and their knowledge of simple machines. They discuss the ways in which the parts of their mechanical device work together. Students are given a criterion for their presentation, which demonstrates each of the benchmarks for this unit.




Application Beyond School


Students can explore how the use of machines is increasing rapidly. While human beings have traditionally invented machines, as we need them, it is possible now for a computer to analyze a problem and suggest a possible solution.




While studying about simple machines, students can use various forms of measurement.



Lesson Plan:


Lesson Plan:

Instruction Plan for a Single Lesson


Name:  Angelique De Mille-Serrette                           School:  St. David’s R.C.

Grade Level:  Standard Three                                      Subject:  Science – Simple Machines

Date:                                                                            Lesson 15 – Science Fair: Tell About It


  1. The students in this class are in the 9 – 11 year age group.  Some are mature for their age while others are developing rapidly to function with their age group.   It is a class of mixed races and mixed ability (multiple intelligences), which accounts for their varied response to different situations.


  1. The goals for this lesson are:

Pupils will:

         Design their own compound machine

         Identify a task that can be performed using their compound machine

         Use materials provided to design a machine to suit their needs.

  • Design a presentation to illustrate their engineering process and their knowledge

      of simple machines


  • Discuss the ways in which the parts of their mechanical device work together


  1. These goals are suitable for this group of students because they:
  • Encourage critical thinking
  • Allow for creativity
  • Emphasize the way in which each pupils conceptualizes their designs
  • Develop their oral and writing skills
  • Allow them to be flexible with their designs
  • Encourage each student to create a device that is their own – thereby developing

      their self-esteem and self worth as ‘great engineers’.


  1. These goals supports the district’s curriculum, state frameworks and content standards as this topic on ‘Simple Machines’ is found in the School’s Science syllabus and it follows the sequential processes of activities outlined within the syllabus and even goes beyond the scope of the syllabus to incorporate the goals of the next grade level.  Thus providing pupils with a broader and deeper understanding and appreciation for the topic.


  1. These goals relate to broader curriculum goals in the discipline as a whole and in other disciplines because of its interconnected to other disciplines.  In order to better achieve these goals, the topic has been connected to other disciplines and their respective objectives.



  1. (a) In order to engage pupils in the content of this lesson, pupils are encouraged to participate in all previous lessons as well as encouraged to demonstrate their engineering prowess.


           (b) In this lesson, pupils are the ones who are in charge of the show.  They are  

                encouraged to:

  • Design their own compound machines (20 – 30mins. depending on how elaborate the designs are)
  • Identify a task that can be performed using their compound machine (10 – 15 mins. given that the design is capable of executing the task)
  • Use materials provided to design a machine to suit their needs (20 mins.)
  • Design a presentation to illustrate their engineering process and their knowledge of simple machines (1 hour)
  • Discuss the ways in which the parts of their mechanical device work together

      (5 – 10 mins.)


      (c) My role during this lesson is to assemble the resources which I think may be 

            needed for the successful completion of their mechanical devices, as well as

            answer any questions, which may have them confused.  If pupils need

            assistance with the wording of their presentations or an additional hand to

            assemble their devices: that is what I am there for.


  1. The problems students typically experience in this area are:
  • Pupils do not incorporate all of the six simple machines into their design and then

      realize that the structure is missing pieces.  I remind them that they must use all 

       six simple machines in their design, thereby ensuring that they achieve the set


  • Pupils may forget to use the simple machine at least twice.   I usually remind them to follow the guidelines listed on the board as well as on their handout.
  • Pupils tend to concentrate so much on building their compound machines, that they usually forget that they need to display at least two compound machines.  I usually remind them to try to stick with their original plan and time frame.
  • Pupils at times try to hand in elaborate presentations, which have no relevance to the simple machines they utilized.  They are told to keep it simple and to the point.
  • Pupils did not conceptualize the capabilities of their device – making them inoperable, thus the presentation is incomplete.  They are told to look at each simple machine by itself and then decide which ones are compatible for the successful completion of their device.


  1. Other instructional materials and resources need for this lesson are:
  • Diagrams of compound machines made from simple machines
  • Examples of presentations, which demonstrate compound machines which pupils,

      did not think of.

  • Posters, which show how various, compound machines work.




  1. Assessment of students’ achievement:

Students are informed that their presentation must include the following:

An introduction

An explanation of what your machine does

Identification of the simple machines in your design

Examples of compound machines in your design

Time for your classmates to answer questions.


Questions for Your Presentation:


What simple machines are in your machine? Tell what each simple machine does.




What worked?





What did not work?





What were some problems you encountered?





Did you have to change your strategy after you started?





What did you do that finally made your machine work the way you wanted it to?








Student Evaluation Sheet


1. Did the students introduce themselves? Yes   No 



2. Did the student explain what they were going to be talking about? Yes   No 






3. Were all six simple machines displayed? Yes   No 






4. Did the student have two examples of each simple machine? Yes   No 






5. Were at least two examples of compound machines displayed? Yes   No






6. For the compound machines, were the simple machines used to make each one identified?

    Yes   No 






7. Was the student prepared to answer your questions about their project?

     Yes   No 







The grading system used to grade these presentations took into consideration:



 Student Grade




  • Content



  • Terms



  • Comprehension






  • Oral



  • Written



  • Display






  • Interesting Approach



  • Creative presentation 



  • Initiative



Total Score



FINAL SCORE  (Total Score divided by 4)
















  1. The results of the assessment of this topic are entered into the pupils Record Cards, which displays whether or not they have achieved the standards, set by the curriculum.    Pupils are also given awards for the successful completion of their projects and encouraged to continue the good work in upcoming projects. The results are also entered into my Teaching Record, where I am able to decided whether or not there is need for remediation or if I can go on to a new topic.