A pulley is an example of a simple machine used to help make life easier. Pulleys allow people to move objects with less effort. Pulleys, which work by rotating a wheel and lifting the load, can be found in everyday items such as flagpoles and mini-blind cords. Teach students about how pulleys work by making a simple project from common household items.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Wire hanger
- Wire cutter
- Wooden spool
- Duct tape
- Wall hook
- Heavy object
Cut the centre of the bottom portion of the wire hanger.
Slide the wooden spool into the bottom of the coat hanger, and slip it to the side. Tape the coat hanger back together. Set the hanger on secure wall hook or coat hook.
Tie a string around a heavy object, such as a mini-cooler handle, and set the object on the ground below the hook. Loop the string around the spool and allow it to dangle.
Grasp the other end of the string and pull; you should notice the heavy object being lifted up.
Tips and warnings
- Reduce the amount of effort needed to lift the weight by adding more pulleys to the contraption. According to the Center of Science & Industry, the greater the number of ropes pulling up, the lower the effort needed.
- Encourage class discussion by asking students to think of examples of how pulleys are used, and where to find pulleys.
- Only use weights that are durable and unbreakable.
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