Rye Neck Middle School students, who have been studying simple machines with a focus on levers in Lauren Zeoli’s seventh-grade science classes, participated in online simulated lab experiments. Using Gizmo, an online tool that supports research-based strategies to build conceptual understanding in math and science, the students tested how levers work to lift heavy objects.

“They made observations and conducted their own experiments,” Zeoli said. “They tested how the placement and setup of the lever affects how easy simple machines make it work. They also calculated the mechanical advantage of their levers, which is another concept they’ve been learning in class. Through the interactive activities, the students could lift heavy objects they wouldn’t be able to lift in real life.”

The learning experience further enhanced the students’ inquiry, problem-solving skills and understanding of the concepts. It also provided them with an opportunity to take learning into their own hands and explore the aspects of conducting a science experiment.

“They learned about the scientific method and, through Gizmo, they applied the skills they would normally use in class in a different way,” Zeoli said. 

As part of their next science unit, the students will study how simple machines transfer energy.