Need to help my 9 year old daughter make a toy using two simple machines.
January 21, 2008 6:18 PM   Subscribe

Any ideas for a toy that is made out of two simple machines?

My nine year old daughter has been given a project in school to build a toy made up of at least two simple machines. I can think of plenty of things that we could make, unfortunately, none of these are "toys" (unless of course, for example, a wheel barrel sounds like fun to kids).

Any suggestions on what would make a good toy?

posted by burhan to Science & Nature (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The simplest I can think of is a ramp (inclined plane) that launches a little car (wheels).
posted by nicwolff at 6:26 PM on January 21, 2008

A compound bow uses axles and pulleys. Seesaws take advantage of lever and incline principles.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:28 PM on January 21, 2008

And here's a third I forgot to include: A spinning top is basically a screw and pulley.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:30 PM on January 21, 2008

I made a toy many years ago that was a toy truck with cams on the axles that lifted passengers (wooden pegs) up and down. Change it into a dump truck with a lever to dump it and you've got wheels/cams and a lever.

The truck aspect was simple: two hollow wooden boxes with dowels as axles and wooden discs as wheels. The cams where smaller wooden circles with an offset hole to make it into a cam.
posted by plinth at 6:41 PM on January 21, 2008

My daughter had the same assignment when she was in 4th grade. We made a trebuchet (it looked something like this) which she used to throw balls at a target. It had 4 or 5 simple machines involved, but damn if I can remember which. Wheels, pulley, gear, plane, lever?
posted by iconomy at 6:49 PM on January 21, 2008

Mousetrap Car
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 6:56 PM on January 21, 2008

How about one of those little helicopter things made out of sticks? I don't know what they're called -- they're shaped like a T and you make them spin/fly by rubbing your hands together (knowwhutimean?). Very easy to make. They're a screw/wedge/axle depending on how you look at it.
posted by hjo3 at 7:05 PM on January 21, 2008

Well, the simplest machine is a wedge...(or a ramp.) If simplicity is the answer, then rolling a car down a ramp is the use of 5 machines at a minimum. (Ramp + wheels.)

Something with a jacob's ladder could be cool. know, one of those old stick-in-the-wheel toys from way back when. You know, where you roll the wheel along the ground w/ a stick? Think hula hoop and baton. I guess that's two, a lever and a wheel?

Or, how about a hammer and a nail? A wedge and a lever/fulcrum. What a fun toy from the days of yore.
posted by TomMelee at 8:53 PM on January 21, 2008

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