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Elementary School Science

5th Grade Science Lesson

General Info

Created ByKaren McCarthy
SchoolElementary School
LocationLexington, MA

About the Lesson

Subject Area
Lesson/UnitSimple Machines

Using the QFT

Place in the Unit/LessonBeginning
Brief description of the unitA unit examining the difference between simple and complex machines.
Final QFocusSimple/complex machines make work easier.

Student Work

Student Questions

Priority questions in bold

Group 1

  • How do they make stuff easier?
  • How do they work?
  • How do you make them?
  • What are ways they help people?
  • How many specific types?
  • What makes a simple machine?
  • Are there simple machines that make work easier than complex machines?
  • How many simple machines are there?
  • How many complex machines are there?
  • Which machines don’t use electricity?
  • What’s the most common simple machine?
  • What’s the most common complex machine?
  • Who invented machines?
  • Do they come in different sizes?
  • Do they come in different colors?

Group 2

  • How does simple machines work?
  • What are the machines?
  • Do they need batteries?
  • What are they made of?
  • What type of machines?
  • Do they help?
  • How do you use them?
  • What makes a simple machine simple?
  • What makes a complex machine complex?
  • What is their appearance?
  • Do you use them daily?
  • What are the names of the machines?
  • How do you build them?
  • Are complex machines made of simple machines?
  • Is a chair a simple machine?
  • Do they use electricity?
  • Are they human powered?
  • Who builds them?
  • What are the sizes?

Group 3

  • Do all simple/complex machines make work easier?
  • What are some simple machines?
  • Do simple machines make life easier?
  • What makes complex machines complex?
  • Do simple machines make up complex machines?
  • How do simple machines work?
  • How many different simple machines are there?
  • Can some machines lift things?
  • Do all machines move?
  • Are R. Goldberg machines made up of simple machines?
  • What do they look like?
  • Do they come in different shapes/sizes?
  • Is a chair a simple machine?
  • Can complex machines be turned into simple machines?
  • Do simple machines make sounds?
  • Are catapults simple machines?
  • Can simple machines make light?
  • Can simple machines hold weight?
  • How many purposes do simple machines have?
  • Do complex machines only have 1 purpose?
  • Do we use simple machines in everyday life?
  • Do we use complex machines in everyday life?
  • Can you hold a simple machine?
  • Is a computer a complex machine?
  • Are simple machines used all around the world?

Group 4

  • Do they make work easier?
  • How do they work?
  • What are they made of?
  • What kind of machines are there?
  • Why is it simple or complex?
  • Who invented them? and when? and why?
  • What are they used for?
  • Where do they make them?
  • What colors are they?
  • Do simple and complex machines always use wheels?
  • How long have they been around?
  • Can they stand?
  • Can they move by themselves?
  • Do they have many parts to them?
  • Can you make it by yourself?
  • Are simple/complex machines all around us?
  • Are they complicated to use/make?
  • Are they always metal?
  • Do they always move?
  • Do they cost a lot of money?
  • Where do you buy them?
  • About how much do companies make of money off of these?
  • How long do they take to build?
  • How many companies make them?
  • What are the names of the products?
  • What size are they?
  • Are they all the same size?
  • Are they all around the world?
  • Where did they start?
Student Comments
  • “It made us really think.”
  • “It makes me excited to find the answers to the questions.”
  • “It made me realize that the topic is bigger than I thought.”
  • “It made me realize that I do not know as much as I thought I knew about simple machines.”
  • “We already started to answer some of our questions.”

Teacher Reflections

Students were super engaged in the listing and discussion of questions.