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In this physical science mini-unit designed for grade 8 students, six groups of students each specialize in one of the six simple machines. As outlined here, the unit covers three to four class periods and deals with forces and motion, work and machines, and mechanical advantage. The teacher introduces students to these topics using the included PowerPoint presentation. Student groups do library or Internet research on their particular simple machine and then experiment with it in class. In culminating oral presentations, each group explains the function(s) of their machine, its mechanical advantage, and some of its everyday uses. The unit plan contains a worksheet for each simple machine group, a notes sheet, teacher pointers, and an assessment rubric.
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