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How I Teach Simple Machines in 4 Easy Steps

I love teaching grade two science with my French students. It has the best curriculum! I especially love the simple machines French science unit. 

Simple machines can be a little boring for grade two students, but with the right materials, you can put together a fun and engaging unit. You can spruce up simple machines through hands-on activities, informative videos, and involved classroom discussions.

In this blog, I am going to show you how I introduce simple machines to my French speaking students. Looking for more science content? Take a look at my other posts about science.

This is the culminating task for my Movement and Simple Machines unit. We create this at the end using as many simple machines as we can. This one has lever, wheel and axle.

How to Introduce Simple Machines

Step 1: Begin with Idello

If you don’t already have an account with Idello, go sign up for one. It is free, and they have many ready-to-go resources available in French. Next, on Idello, find the “comment ça marche” series.

In this series, they have a video for almost every simple machine. Introduce a simple machine to students using the video. It’s best to introduce one new simple machine each day. (PS. There are other videos and series available on Idello, but this is my favorite to use with students.)

Idello website. I use the videos on this website to show how each simple machine works. This is great for your le mouvement et les machines simples unité.
Step 2: Discuss the Video

After your students have watched the video, it is time to discuss. This is a great listening exercise for students because the video has fairly rapid speech and perhaps a different accent than your students are used to hearing. With that in mind, start by simply recapping what was shown in the video. Ask students:

  • How did the machine work?
  • What did the machine do?
  • How did the simple machine make people’s lives easier?
  • What are real life examples of the simple machine?

Then, as a class, come up with a definition for the simple machine. . I always display the different simple machines and their definitions around the room with these posters. You can also print these posters smaller, so they will fit in student’s journals as anchor charts. Grab the free posters here.

Free Simple Machines Posters. These go great with my Simple Machines unit. Each poster has a photo of the simple machine and a definition. There are posters of the following simple machines: levers (un levier), wheel and axle (une roue et un essieu), pulleys (une poulie), inclined planes (un plan incliné), wedge (un coin) and screws (une vis). These are great for your le mouvement et les machines simples unité.
Step 3: Practice Knowledge off Simple Machines

Now that students have a basic understanding of simple machines, it is time for them to practice and master the skill. This can be with a project, hands-on activity, or digital game.
If you aren’t sure where to find simple machines activities, check out my simple machines French unit. In this unit, I have sixty plus pages of activities for student practice. Activities include definition centres, graphic organizers, craftivities, and a culminating task. Digital (Google Slides) and print available.

Here are some activities found in my Movement and Simple Machines unit for Grade 2. Each of these activities comes with a spot to cut and paste the the pictures, a spot to write a definition and how the simple machine helps us. This is one of many activities found in my Grade 2 Ontario Science Units. This is great for le mouvement et les machines simples unité.
Step 4: Create a Simple Machine

When you have completed your simple machine unit, you will want to end on some sort of assessment. This can be a project or a more traditional assessment. I recommend doing something hands-on with students, such as having them build their own simple machine out of paper.

Here is another example of an activity found in my Movement and Simple Machines Unit in French. Students can build their own simple machines out of paper. This one is an inclined plane. This is a perfect hands-on activity for your le mouvement et les machines simples unité.

You can find the instructions for this project in my French simple machine science unit! Grab the science unit here.

PS. Don’t forget you can download the free French simple machine posters! Sign-up below and find them in your inbox.

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