It’s a screwy world! In this issue, learn how a screw, which is simply an inclined plane wrapped around a cylinder, is just one of the endless varieties of simple machines. For kids, this is an issue that catapults them into action: They’ll want to see for themselves how the wedges, wheels, pulleys and levers described here really operate. Kicking things off, kids encounter the first simple machine: the wedge, which turned up as chisels, axes and arrowheads some 2.6 million years ago. Then it’s on to levers, which are found in everything from scissors to baseball bats, and the wheel, without which we would not have cars.
Pulleys get a share of the action too: Find out why they were essential to Ancient Greek playwrights (for dangling actors over the stage) and why they are still commonly found in everyday items like elevators and tow trucks. Simple Machines, for kids who are fans of the game Mousetrap, will excite and inspire, and they’ll have a good laugh at cartoonist Rube Goldberg’s 19 steps to sharpening a pencil in a machine-less world. Most kids also don’t know that without inclined planes, the Great Pyramids would not exist – not to mention skateboards!