What is a Simple Machine?

It is a basic device with few or no moving parts that helps reduce the amount of time and energy needed to do a task. It makes work easier.

A force is a push or pull on an object that makes it move, slow down, speed up, or stop.

A simple machine reduces effort by changing a force’s direction, quantity, or speed. 

Even though we don’t realize it, we use simple machines daily. 

Let’s learn about the different types of simple machines around us.


A lever is a simple machine with a handle or bar called the arm moving around a fixed point called the fulcrum. 

  • The force or effort is applied to push or pull on the arm.
  • This effort helps to move a load at another point.
  • The balancing point between the effort and load is the fulcrum.


  • A see-saw in the playground.
  • A pair of scissors for cutting an object.

Wheel and Axle

The wheel and axle is a simple machine that consists of a wheel attached to a rod called the axle.

  • The wheel and axle rotate together, and the force gets transferred from one to the other.
  • It helps to move loads over a long distance.


  • Bicycles use a wheel and axle to help us cover long distances quickly.
  • A door knob in which the knob is the wheel, and the shaft of the lock is the axle.

Inclined Plane

An inclined plane is a simple machine with a sloping surface or a ramp. 

  • It is a plane surface set at an angle against another surface.
  • It helps to move heavy objects up and down the ramp.


  • A wheelchair can easily go up a ramp to get into a bus.
  • An inclined plane is used in a dump truck to lower loads.


A pulley is a simple machine made by looping a rope over a wheel with a groove.

  • Pulling down on one end of the rope causes an upward pull on the other end and can be used to lift heavy objects.
  • When two or more pulleys are connected, a heavy load is lifted with less effort.


  • A construction crane uses a pulley to lift heavy loads.
  • Elevators use a pulley system to move up and down.


Let’s quickly recap what we learned about simple machines.

  • A simple machine has many moving parts. True or False? False
  • What type of simple machine uses an arm balanced on a fulcrum? Lever
  • What type of simple machine helps us cover long distances quickly? Wheel and Axle
  • What type of simple machine is used to move heavy loads from a lower to a higher position? Inclined Plane
  • What type of simple machine uses a rope looped over a grooved wheel? Pulley
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