Catch an Elf with Simple Machines

Some of LGS’s 4-6 students have been learning about simple machines. And it’s just in time for those planning on using their new knowledge to catch an elf on Christmas!

Simple machines reduce the amount of effort required for work. There are six types:

  • Lever – a rod or bar set to tilt on a fulcrum (seesaw, a person’s arm)
  • Wheel and axle – a circular device with a rigid bar in its center (car wheel, door knob)
  • Pulley – a wheel with a rope, cable or chain (flagpole, bike chain)
  • Inclined plane – a ramp
  • Wedge – a portable double-inclined plane (axe, knife)
  • Screw – an inclined plane wrapped around a shaft (screw, drill)

With Christmas fast approaching, students can test their knowledge and creativity by building an elf trap. The book How to Catch an Elf by Adam Wallace offers some ideas and inspiration. (Hint: elves can’t resist candy canes!) Enjoy a read-aloud video of the book.

What would you use to catch an elf? Would you use a candy cane to lure the elf up an inclined plane and across a lever that would then tilt and drop him into a hole? Or would you use a pulley to drop a cage on top of the elf?

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