Simple Machines experiment: make a pulley


In Simple Machines, kids use pulleys to send satellites into orbit and birds into flight. In this printable activity, you can build a simple pulley together.

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Download and print the activity here.

You need:

  • a long string
  • a rock, book, or other heavy object
  • a railing or banister

Build a simple pulley:

  1. Tie the string around your heavy object.
  2. Try to lift the object straight up with the string. Is it easy or difficult to lift?
  3. Loop the loose end of the string not tied to the object around the railing or banister.
  4. Pull down on the loose end of the string to pull the object up.

Was it easier or harder to lift the object on the string once it was wrapped over the banister or railing? How did the pulley help you do work?

This activity was designed to further learning in the Simple Machines app. Find more activities to support your kids’ learning in the Simple Machines Handbook.