How to build a flag pole using simple machines

Written by courtney johnson
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How to build a flag pole using simple machines
The flag pole is an example of a simple machine called a pulley. (flag image by 6922 Designer from

The flag pole is an example of one of the seven types of simple machines known as a pulley. You can make a simple flag pole to show how a pulley works with a few items you can purchase at a craft store or that you have lying around the house or classroom. In a class period, your students can make their own simple machine to bring home that gives them a visual of how a pulley works.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Beans or sand
  • Dixie cup
  • Tin foil
  • Scissors
  • 2 push pins
  • Balsa wood--approximately 12 inches long
  • String
  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Sellotape

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  1. 1

    Fill a dixie cup with sand or beans. Cover the top of the cup tightly with tin foil.

  2. 2

    Turn the cup over and cut a whole in the base large enough to place the Balsa wood into.

  3. 3

    Place one push pin into the wood near the top and one push pin into the wood at the bottom.

  4. 4

    Cut a piece of string long enough to make a loop around the two push pins when you knot it off.

  5. 5

    Create your own flag out of paper. You can draw the American flag, state flag or a flag of your own design. Colour your flag in.

  6. 6

    Cut out your flag and then tape it to the string you tied off. The best place to tape it is covering the knot.

  7. 7

    Attach your string and flag around the two push pins. If your string loop is too short you can space the pins closer together. Space the push pins further apart if the string loop is too long.

  8. 8

    Stick your flag pole into the dixie cup base. Pull one side of the string up and down to raise and lower the flag.

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