Work, Force, Power, and Machines Task

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Course: Engineering Design 1

Task Length: 1 hour

Work, Force, Power, & Machines

Task Description


In this task, students will work in small groups to generate solutions using the engineering design process.

Standard 11: In teams, document the process of completing a simple project, such as building or using one or more simple machines. Participate in and describe each engineering design process step in an engineering notebook. Create a physical prototype or model based on the constraints specified in the project and the data gathered in the process of development.

 Content Understandings

Extending Understandings

Upon successful completion of these tasks students will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Recognize and identify the six simple machines.
  2. Explain why engineers use simple machines.
  3. Utilize the engineering design process.

To move students towards deeper understanding, they should be given opportunities to:

  • Identify other situations that simple machines could be used to make a task easier.
  • Identify a real world problem that the engineering design process could solve.

Support Strategies

If students are struggling to access this task, additional supports and strategies could be employed as students are engaging with the task.

Key Terms

Sentence Frames

Scaffolded Questions

Engineering Design Process

Simple Machines

The team used the _____ to come up with a solution to the erosion issue.

A combination of_____ is called a compound machine.

Can you describe each step of the engineering design process?

Can you identify one application for each of the six simple machines?


This activity will require students to apply what they learned during the lesson/lecture on simple machines to a scenario.

Task Steps

  1. The teacher will divide the students into groups of 3 (depending on class size)
  2. Each group will be given the scenario worksheet. They must use a predetermined platform to present each step of the scenario to their teacher.

Student Resources

Click here to download the student resource for this task. 

The Scenario

The Nashville Zoo has a new tiger exhibit coming to town arriving by train. On its way to Nashville the train jumped the track and the rail car carrying the tigers turned over. The local freight train crew was able to get the train back on the track, but the Nashville Zoo still has a problem: How do they get the tigers back on the train? Your task is to lift the tigers six feet back onto the rail car.



Design a way to get the tigers back on the train. Each group must do the following:


  1. Make a list of all the simple machines. Each member is responsible for presenting two ideas for the tiger moving device.


  1. Each group should create a drawing of their best design (keeping in mind all constraints). Make sure all the parts of the drawing are clearly labeled, including the simple machines.


  1. Write steps or a flow chart for how the machine works.


  1. Each group will present their design and drawing to the class for two minutes.




  1. Each group will only have 45 mins to complete the task.
  2. The design must keep the tiger safe.
  3. The design must use at least two simple machines.