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Simple Machines: What Is a Lever? (Grade 3)

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Simple Machines: What Is a Lever?

Broom Do you help sweep the floor at home or school with a broom? Have you ever swung a baseball bat? Do you flip the light switch off when you leave a room? These are all examples of simple machines called levers.

Levers have two parts: an arm and a fulcrum. The arm is a straight bar. The bar pivots, or turns, around a fixed point called a fulcrum. We can push or pull one part of the arm to move another part. This helps make our work easier.

When using a broom, we use one hand to move the handle. The handle is the arm of the lever. Our hand applies an effort force, or push or pull. That force is moved from the broom handle to the dirty floor. The dirt on the floor is load, or object we are trying to move. The top of the broom is the fulcrum around which the broom handle turns. There are three classes, or types, of levers. The lever class depends on the positions of the fulcrum, the effort force, and the load.

Can you think of any other levers you use?
A hockey stick is an example of a lever.
  1. True
  2. False
The wheelbarrow is a machine that has a lever. Marcus is using a wheelbarrow to move rocks. Marcus places the rocks in the tub of the wheelbarrow. He then lifts the handles and pushes the wheelbarrow so it rolls on its wheel.
Where is the load?
  1. the tub
  2. the wheel
  3. the handles
Which is the best definition of fulcrum?
  1. straight bar
  2. push or pull
  3. turning point
A hammer can be used as a lever. Which term best describes the handle of the hammer?
  1. arm
  2. load
  3. fulcrum
Denise made the table below for her science report. She needs to add a title to the table.
Firstfulcrum in middle of arm
Secondload in middle of arm
Thirdeffort force in middle of arm

Which is the best title for Denise's table?
  1. How to Use a Lever
  2. Three Classes of Levers
  3. The Six Simple Machines
  4. Real World Examples of Levers

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