Forces and Simple Machines

Unit Lessons

PYP Theme: How The World Works

BiblioGarden PYP Librarian Beanstalk LogoForces and Simple Machines: Unit Overview

The Unit of Inquiry on Forces and Simple Machines is a time for the library curriculum to shine!  As the kids “tune in,” they find forces in a wildly popular storybook by Chris Van Dusen, then write their own class book to share their findings.  Next, the kids take notes from a non-fiction, digital information source about the forces of flight.  To extend their understanding of lift, gravity, thrust, and drag, the children build and fly their own paper airplanes.  Next, students learn about the invention of the Ferris Wheel – what a history!  Finally, they wrap up the unit by figuring out how much force eggshells can withstand, and they do it using library books!  I’ve written the unit to balance work with texts and activities, but each lesson is kid-friendly and loaded with fun.  The paper airplane and eggshell lessons are some of the most popular of the year.  So, don’t shy away from the science units.  A great school library program can enrich and make any unit even stronger. 


Forces and Simple Machines #1: A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students learn to recognize forces and simple machines in a delightful storybook.  Chris Van Dusen is a masterful storyteller and illustrator, and the kids are immediately hooked by the rhymes, illustrations, and then the unbelievable storyline!  Don’t be fooled – forces and simple machines are… Read more

Betty Turpin

Forces and Simple Machines #2: Paper Airplanes

Lesson Overview: Building on last week’s “Tuning In” work, today’s lesson looks at the forces of flight.  Using a short video from DK Find Out, a simple handout for taking notes, and a bit of colored paper, students put the forces to the test by folding and flying their own… Read more

Betty Turpin

Forces and Simple Machines #3: Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

Lesson Overview: In this unit, the students have been learning about forces and simple machines.  They “tuned in” using the work of Chris Van Dusen and a naughty bear after a bag of marshmallows.  Next, they took notes from a digital information source, then built and flew their own paper… Read more

Betty Turpin

Forces and Simple Machines #4: Eggshell and Books Challenge

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, the children conduct a simple science experiment with eggshells and library books.  This is the only lesson in BiblioGarden that is designed to be a science experiment, so take advantage of this opportunity!  Building on the children’s work with forces, you will use library books… Read more

Betty Turpin