If your child is learning about simple machines in class, she may wonder whether she could make her own simple machine in order to complete a task. Building a pulley that can lift a toy car is a basic but fun way to show your child how simple machines work.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Wire cutter
- Coat hanger (wire)
- Large wooden spool
- Closet with hanging bar
- Toy car
- Spring scale (optional)
Use the wire cutter to cut the bottom wire of the hanger in half.
Thread the wooden spool through both cut sides of the hanger.
Push the two sides of the hanger together so that each cut end protrudes through the opposite side of the spool. Then bend the cut ends down so the hanger and the spool stay in place.
Hang the hanger on the closet bar, and place the toy beneath the hanger.
Tie one end of the string to the toy car. Curl the other end of the string over the top of the spool and hold on to the other end of the string.
Pull on the string to make the pulley lift the toy car.
Tips and warnings
- Use a spring scale to measure the force you exert when you lift a toy car from a single string. Then measure the force you exert when you use the pulley. Discuss with your child which one causes you to exert more force, and why.
- Challenge your child to design an entire pulley system using additional spools and hangers. Use the spring scale to measure the differences in exerted force.
- The cut ends of the hanger can be sharp. Be careful when working with cut wire.
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