Early Simple Machines Set


Applying knowledge and skills related to gears and pulleys, stability, and fair testing.

30-45 min.
Grades 1-2

The Problem

(5-10 Minutes)

In the garden there is an old cherry tree with big, ripe and sweet cherries. Cherries are Sam and Sara’s favorite fruit, but unfortunately they are not the only ones who like cherries. A big group of birds have landed in the tree and are eating all of the cherries. No matter how much noise Sam and Sara make they can’t scare the birds away.

Can you help Sam and Sara build a moving device that can scare all the birds away?


Design Brief

(3-5 Minutes)

Design and make a moving scarecrow that:

  • has at least one type of movement
  • is as scary as possible

Fair Testing and Fun

(10-15 Minutes)

Does it look like a scarecrow?
How can you tell it’s a scarecrow?

Which type of movement does it have?
Show and tell.

How scary is the scarecrow?
Explain why. Is it to do with the shape, or what it does, or …?


Extra Challenge

(10-15 Minutes)

Build a noise-making mechanism that makes a loud noise when the scarecrow moves.

Teacher Support

Students will be able to apply knowledge and skills around:
The framework of structures and how to make them stable and able to support loads
Solving problems from a specific design brief

9656 Early Simple Machines Set (two students per set recommended)
Bells or other noisy objects
Scrap materials

Disciplinary Core Ideas: Physical Science

1 MS-PS2 Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

Crosscutting Concepts
Stability and change

Science and Engineering Practices
Asking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Constructing explanations and designing solution
Engaging in argument from evidence
Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
Mathematical Practice

MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
MP5 Use appropriate tools strategically
MP6 Attend to precision
MP7 Look for and make use of structure

Measurement & Data
1.MD.C / 2.MD.C

Writing Standards
W.K.2 / W.1.2 / W.2.2

Speaking and Listening
SL.K.3 / SL.K.6 / SL.1.3 / SL.2.3 / SL.2.4