The lever is a simple machine that can be used to change the force that is applied (effort), alter the direction, and change the distance of movement.
Simple Machines: Lever
The lever is probably the most commonly used simple machine. A lever is a rigid bar or solid object that is used to transfer force.
With a pivot, the lever can be used to change the force that is applied (effort), alter the direction, and change the distance of movement. Effort, a pivot, and a load are three features that are common in every lever.
Depending on the positions of these shared features, you can distinguish between first, second, and third class levers.
Did you know?
The term lever derives from the French word levier which means ‘to raise’.
First class levers have the pivot positioned between the effort and the load. Common examples of first class levers include a seesaw, a crowbar, pliers, and scissors.
Second class levers have the pivot and the effort at opposite ends and the load positioned between the two. Common examples of second class levers include nutcrackers, wheelbarrows, and bottle openers.
Third class levers have the pivot and the load at opposite ends and the effort positioned between the two. Common examples of third class levers include tweezers and ice tongs.
(5 to 10 Minutes)
Build the Lever model
(Build Model A1 book I, pages 2 to 3)
This model shows a first class lever. It has the effort and load at opposite ends with the pivot in between. This model uses the least effort to move the load.
This model shows a second class lever. It has the effort and pivot at opposite ends and the load in between. The effort needed to move the load is about half the load force.
This model shows a third class lever. It has the pivot and load at opposite ends and the effort in between. Even though the effort required is greater than lifting the load directly, the advantage of using a third class lever is that the load is moved a further distance than the length of the lift of the effort.
Try other lever lessons!
Now that you have mastered the principles of levers try some of the other lever lessons like Letter Balance.
Students will learn about:
Using levers to apply force (effort), alter the direction, and change the distance of movement
Effort, pivot and load as three features that are common in every lever
First, second and third class levers