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STEM Activities

At-Home Edition

Lever & Fulcrum


Supplies needed:

  • Wooden chopstick

  • 2 small paper cups

  • Toilet paper tube

  • weights to add to either side (like pennies, pom poms, or small toys)


How to:

  1. Use the wooden chopstick to poke a hole on the side of each cup. Make sure the holes are the same height on each cup.

  2. Insert one end of the chopstick into each cup.

  3. Fold the toilet paper tube into a triangular shape.

  4. The cardboard tube will be the fulcrum and the chopstick can rest evenly on the tube and act as a lever.


How does it work?

A lever is simply a plank or ridged beam that is free to rotate on a pivot. It is perfect for lifting or moving heavy things. Examples of levers include a seesaw, wheelbarrow, or a garden shovel. Levers have four very important parts — the bar or beam, the fulcrum (the pivot or the turning point), effort (or force) and the load.

The beam is simply a long plank. It may be wood, metal or any durable material. The beam rests on a fulcrum (a point on the bar creating a pivot). When you push down one end of a lever, you apply a force (input) to it. The lever pivots on the fulcrum, and produces an output (lift a load) by exerting an output force on the load. A lever makes work easier by both increasing your input force and changing the direction of your input force.

(from, 2019)

Want to learn more?

Check out these eBooks (available on Hoopla with your library card):

simple machines levers.jpg
simple machines fun levers.jpg
early bird physics levers.jpg
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