# Levers. Simple Machines: Lever 1

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2 work you will get a nice picture of all the simple machines and what they do. In this lesson, we will be spending some quality time with levers and in the next lesson we will spend time with pulleys. The Power of Simple Machines Archimedes (286 to 212 B.C.) said Give me a place to stand and I can move the Earth. As you can see, Archimedes was quite fond of simple machines. In fact, he was a master of all the simple machines. He did not invent them but he did put them to some amazing uses. For example, a story goes that the Greek King Hiero had a problem. He had had a boat made that was so large no number of men could get it into the water. What good is a boat that is stuck on land? The king told Archimedes his problem and Archimedes said Pfffft, I can launch that boat with one hand! Sure enough after several days, Archimedes created a system of levers and pulleys that allowed him to move the boat by himself...with one hand. According to one version of the story, the king did not believe that Archimedes was doing it on his own and that there must be some trick. Archimedes said, Okay, you do it. The king hesitantly gave it a try and sure enough, in front of a huge crowd, the king moved the ship. At that point, the king shouted out, From this day forth, Archimedes is to be believed in everything that he may say. Archimedes was an unbelievable scientist and mathematician. There are many terrific stories surrounding his life and discoveries. I would highly recommend taking the time to look into him a bit further. The Lever So what is this lever thing anyway? Well, at it s most basic level, it s a stick and a rock...pretty simple machine huh? The lever is made up of two parts, the lever (the stick part) and the fulcrum (the rock part). Believe it or not, using this very simple machine you can lift hundreds of pounds with your bare hands and very little effort. Let s try it. Experiment 1 Lifting Weights You need: A nice strong piece of wood. 3 to 8 feet long would be great if you have it. Simple Machines: Lever 2

4 for the fulcrum. It is the pivot that the lever turns on. The fulcrum, as we ll play with a bit more later, is the key to the effectiveness of the lever. The Types of Levers There are three types of levers. Their names are first-class, second-class and third-class. I love it when it s that simple. Kind of like Dr. Suess s Thing One and Thing Two. The only difference between the three different levers is where the effort, load and fulcrum are. First-Class Lever A first-class lever is a lever in which the fulcrum is located in between the effort and the load. This is the lever that you think of whenever you think of levers. The lever you made in Experiment 1 is a first-class lever. Examples of first-class levers are the seesaw, a hammer (when it s used to pull nails), scissors (take a look, it s really a double lever!), and pliers (same as the scissors, a double lever). Second-Class Lever The second-class lever is a little strange. In a second-class lever, the load is between the fulcrum and the effort. A good example of this, is a wheel-barrow. The wheel is the fulcrum, the load sits in the wheelbarrow bucket and the effort is you. Some more examples would be a door (the hinge is the fulcrum), a stapler, and a nut-cracker. Simple Machines: Lever 4

6 seen folks push down on the lever and then let go. The lever comes up fast and can pop you pretty hard. 1. Put your fulcrum, the book or the brick, whatever you re using on a nice flat spot. 2. Put the end of your lever on the fulcrum. 3. Put the books or gallon jugs or whatever you re using for a load, in the middle of the lever. 4. Now, put yourself (the effort) on the opposite end of the lever from the fulcrum. 5. Lift 6. Experiment with the load. Move it towards the fulcrum and lift. Then move it toward the effort and lift. Where is it harder(takes more force) to lift the load, near the fulcrum or far? Where does the load lift the greatest distance, near the fulcrum or far? Experiment 3 Third-class Lever You need A nice strong piece of wood. 3 to 8 feet long would be great if you have it. A brick, a thick book or a smaller piece of wood (for the fulcrum) Books, gallons of water or anything heavy that s not fragile Again, be careful with this. Don t use something that s so heavy someone will get hurt. Also, be sure not to use something so heavy that you break the wooden lever. Last but not least, be sure to keep your head and face away from the lever. I ve seen folks push down on the lever and then let go. The lever comes up fast and can pop you pretty hard. 1. Put your fulcrum on the ground in a nice flat place. 2. Put your lever on the fulcrum so that the fulcrum is at the very end of the lever. Simple Machines: Lever 6

8 let s do some math. (Officially we should convert kilograms (a unit of mass) to Newtons (a unit of force) so that we can work in Joules which is a unit of work. However, we ll do it this way so you can see the relationship more easily.) Phillip s work (the work in) = 1 kg x 1 m = 1 The work on the bowling ball (the work out) = 10 kg x.1 m = 1 Work in equals work out! Later in this energy unit, you ll learn about energy efficiency. At that point, you ll see that you never get all the energy you want from the energy you put in. Some is lost to sound and some to heat. A lever is incredibly efficient but you may still see, in your measurements, that the energy in is greater than the energy you get out. Speaking of your measurements...let s make some. Experiment 4 The See-Saw You need: A wooden ruler or a paint stick for the lever Many pennies, quarters, or washers (many little somethings of the same mass) A spool, eraser, pencil (anything that can be your fulcrum) A ruler (to be your um...ruler) 2 paper cups Optional: A scale that can measure small amounts of mass (a kitchen scale is good) 1. Tape a paper cup to each side of your lever. This allows for an easy way to put the pennies on the lever. 2. Set your fulcrum on the table and put your lever (ruler or paint stick) on top of it. Try to get the ruler to balance on the fulcrum. 3. Put a load of 5 pennies on one side of your lever. Simple Machines: Lever 8

10 1 gram = Newtons Simple Machines: Lever 10

11 Effort Side Lever Data Table Load Side Force Distance Work In Force Distance Work Out Number of Weights or Mass of Weights Distance the Lever was Pushed Down Multiply Force x Distance on Effort Side Number of Weights or Mass of Weights Distance the Lever was Lifted Up Multiply Force x Distance on Load Side Simple Machines: Lever 11

13 Did You Get It 1. Can you name the six simple machines? 2. It s easier to move things using a lever but what has to happen to lessen the force needed to move the load? 3. Describe a first-class lever. Can you give an example? 4. Describe a second-class lever. Can you give an example? 5. Describe a third-class lever. Can you give an example? Answers 1. The six machines are the inclined plane, the wheel and axle, the lever, the pulley, the wedge, and the screw. 2. The distance that the effort moves is much greater than the distance the load moves. 3. A first-class lever is a lever in which the fulcrum is located in between the effort and the load. Some examples are see-saw, a hammer (when it s used to pull nails), scissors, and pliers. 4. In a second-class lever, the load is between the fulcrum and the effort. Some examples are a wheel-barrow, a door, a stapler, and a nut-cracker. 5. The third-class lever has the effort between the load and the fulcrum. A few examples of this are tweezers, fishing rods, your jaw, and your arm Simple Machines: Lever 13

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