Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Learning about Hammers and Screwdrivers

All about Hammers, Nails, Screwdrivers, Screws, and Safety Goggles

  • safety goggles (a must when working with tools)
  • hammer, nails
  • flathead screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, flathead screws, Phillips screws
  • tools and fasteners

  • Have students brainstorm different hand tools. (hammer, screwdriver, wrench, pliers, saw)
  • Ask why people use tools. (Tools make our jobs easier. They help us build or fix things.)
  • Explain that specific tools have specific jobs.
  • Ask if they know what the job of a hammer is. (to pound nails)
  • Ask if they know what the job of a screwdriver is. (to turn, tighten, or loosen screws)

Choose the activities that you feel are appropriate for your students' age or ability level. They are in no particular order.

Activity 1

  • Pass out different size nails and screws for children to observe.  (Zip-lock bags or small plastic containers work well for storage.) (If possible show flathead and Phillips screws.)
  • Have the kids handle the nails and screws and observe the differences and similarities.
  • Have children list the similarities and differences. (orally or written) 
  1. Both the nail and screw are fasteners and hold things together.
  2. Both are made of metal.
  3. The nail has a flat body. ... The screw is grooved .
  4. The nail has a flat head. ... The screw has a groove(s) in its head and sometimes is rounded.
  5. The nail is used with a hammer.
  6. The screw is used with a screwdriver.
  7. The nail is pounded into wood.
  8. The screw is turned into wood.                      
  • Older students can make a Venn Diagram comparing nails and screws.

    Activity 2
    • Give each student a pencil and piece of cardboard.
    • Have them place the piece of cardboard down on a flat surface (desk).
    • Next they should press the eraser end of a pencil down on the cardboard. 
    • Then they should press the pointed end of the pencil down onto the cardboard.
    • Ask if the results were the same. Ask how they were different.
    • Explain that the pointed end of the pencil worked like a wedge and pushed into the cardboard just as the pointed end of a nail (or screw) pushes into wood.

      Activity 3 
      • Read some books to the younger students about hammers and screwdrivers.
      • Possible choices:  Fix it with Bob: Bob's Handy Hammer and Fix It with Bob: The Very Busy Day (Screwdrivers) published by Golden Books  or  If I Had a Hammer and If I Had A Saw published by Modern Publishing.

      Popular Mechanics for Kids: Who Uses a Hammer?

      • Older students can research the different types of hammers and make a timeline of the history of nails back to ancient times.

      Activity 4
      • Have children observe, sketch, and label the plastic hammers and screwdrivers (flathead and Phillips).

      Phillips (red) and flathead (yellow) screwdrivers

      • Younger students could trace and color the tools.
      • Discuss how the screws, Phillips (+) or flathead (-), have to match the proper screwdriver. 
      Phillips Screwdriver + Phillips Screw

      • Discuss how nails are removed with the claw end of a hammer and screws are removed by turning the screwdriver to the left.
      • Teach children the carpenter's catchy saying: "Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey" so they will never forget which way to turn a screwdriver when tightening or loosening a screw. Have the children practice the twisting motion.

      Activity 5
      • Have the students put on protective eyewear (SAFETY GOGGLES) and practice with the plastic hammers and screwdrivers. The kids like wearing the goggles, they help protect their eyes, and it will be good practice for when they use real tools.
      • One idea for younger students is to use plastic hammers and golf tees or plastic pegs hammered into Styrofoam.  (I have heard of teachers also using clay, bars of soap, pumpkins, and watermelons instead of Styrofoam.) What do you use?

      • Plus there are plenty of kids' tool kits that will give the students practice in using hammers and screwdrivers (and wrenches and pliers).

      Melissa & Doug Wooden Take Along Tool Kit (24pc)

      • Older students and their teachers could visit younger grades and assist the children.
      • Older students could sketch and design something that they would like to build if they had the proper tools and fasteners.
      • Students could also attend a Saturday workshop for KIDS at Home Depot or Loews with their parents. Parents or teachers could call their local store for a schedule of dates and times.
      • Older students could design and create a book (alphabet or other) or slide show on tools and fasteners for younger kids. They could include pliers, wrenches, nuts and bolts, etc. Then they could read their books or present the slide shows to the younger kids.

      Monday, May 30, 2011

      Simple and Complex Machines Crossword Puzzle

      Kids usually like doing crossword puzzles. It's a great way to introduce or review the essential vocabulary for a unit on Simple Machines or any other topic.

      You can visit Learning Workroom's website for a FREE Simple Machines Crossword Puzzle that you can download and print.

      Click Here: http://www.learningworkroom.com
      Go to: Free Worksheets

      Saturday, May 28, 2011

      Simple Machines Fun Online Games

      Here are 2 Simple Machines fun online games from Quia.

      Click Here: Simple Machines Matching and Concentration Games

      Here's an online fun game from the Center for Materials for Information Technology (MINT), University of Alabama.

      Click Here: Simple Machines Game

      Here's an awesome online game from the Museum of Science + Industry, Chicago. 

      Click Here: Simple Machines CHALLENGE Game


      Friday, May 27, 2011

      Simple Machines Scavenger Hunt

      Simple Machines are found everywhere. This post will be about looking for simple (and complex machines) in the home or classroom and integrating science with math.

      First review the 6 different simple machines. (wheel, lever, pulley, inclined plane, screw, wedge)

      Have the kids list the 6 simple machines then go on a scavenger hunt to find as many as they can. Clipboards work well and kids love to use them.

      Here are some examples.

       Stapler - lever, wedge

       Hole Punch - lever, wedge

      Light Bulb - the base is a screw

      Spoon - wedge

      Doorknob - wheel and axle

      Egg Beater - wheel and axle, gears, wedge

      Window Shade - pulley

      Wall Light Switch - lever

      Can Opener - wheel and axle, gears, lever, wedge

      Stairs - inclined plane

      Step Stool - inclined plane

      Bottle Cap - screw

      Door Hinge - lever

      The students should mark a tally for each machine found.

      When they are finished have the kids create a tally chart or frequency chart of their data (information).

      Tally Chart

      Frequency Chart

      (Younger students can fill in a chart with their teacher.)

      Next the children could graph their results using paper, pencils, rulers, crayons, etc. or they could use an online graphing program.
      An easy online website for children to use is Kids' Zone-Create a Graph.

      Graph made at the Kids Zone Website

      Older students could use the Microsoft Excel Program to create their graphs.


      Wednesday, May 25, 2011

      Simple and Compound Machines Venn Diagram

      A Venn Diagram is a graphic organizer that helps compare/contrast things. 

      Have students compare/contrast Simple and Compound Machines. 

      Next the students could choose 2 of the 6 simple machines to compare/contrast. (wheel, lever, pulley, inclined plane, screw, wedge)

      The students could draw theVenn Diagrams in their English Language Arts or Science notebook or you could download one of the FREE Venn Diagram Worksheets from Learning Workroom's website.

      Go to Free Worksheets

      If the students need help, they could use information previously written in their science notebooks, or they could do further research using dictionaries, books, or the internet.

      Here's a Simple machines website:


      Tuesday, May 24, 2011

      Field Trip To Identify Simple Machines

      There are lots of places to look for Simple and Complex Machines. They really are everywhere! They are in your home, garage, tool shed, yard, and neighborhood. You also can visit a hardware store, department store (tool department, home and garden department, etc.) or large home improvement warehouse.

      This post is about visiting a large home improvement warehouse. You can turn your weekly shopping adventure into a field trip for the kids. Teachers, you can call ahead to a store and then pick a non-busy store time to take your class. I have taken 22 kids to Home Depot. We called ahead and they had 2 different wonderful employees meet with us and each gave the kids a little tour. (We did simple machines and plants on the same day.)

      The kids can bring pencils and notebooks for sketching and labeling simple machines or cameras.

      Here are pictures of a few of the simple and complex machines found at my my local Home Depot.

      Wheels and Axles.

      Levers and Wheels and Axles




      Wheels and Axles


      Levers and Wedges

       Wheels and Axle

      Wheels and Axles

      Some of the stores also have a small selection of children's books.

      After the trip the kids can can make booklets, posters, or slide shows to show what they observed and learned.

      If any of the employees help you out, the kids can make and send thank-you notes (and pictures) to the store mentioning the helpful employees' names, what they learned, and what they enjoyed about the trip. (... a language arts tie in.)

      I always like FREE field trips with the kids!!!

      Have fun!


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