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Simple Machines
Lever, Wheel and Axle, and Pulley



Lever, Wheel and Axle, and Pulley
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.49

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    based, further, opposite, mills, axle, lever, gain, pulley, increase, produce, such, works, modern, wheel, force, construction


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Other Languages
     French: Le levier, la roue et l'essieu et la poulie
     Spanish: La palanca, la rueda y el eje, y la polea
     Italian: Leva, asse nella ruota e puleggia
     German: Hebel, Rad und Achse, und Rolle


Lever, Wheel and Axle, and Pulley
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     The lever, the wheel and axle, and the pulley are three simple machines that have something in common. It's easy to see how the wheel and axle and the pulley are related; a pulley looks a lot like a wheel and axle with a rope over it. But what about the lever? A lever doesn't look much like a wheel and axle or a pulley. For starters, it isn't even round! So you may be surprised to learn that the lever is the basic simple machine that the other two are based on.
 
2     A lever is a bar with a balance point called the fulcrum. A garden shovel is an example. In a wheel and axle, the fulcrum is in the center. The outside rim of the wheel is like the handle of a lever; it just wraps all the way around. A pulley is just what it looks like, a wheel and axle with a groove to hold a rope around the outside edge.
 
3     A lever helps you do more work than you could do by yourself. It seems like it makes you stronger, but it really doesn't. Like all simple machines, a lever can either give you more force or more distance, but as you get more of one you always give up some of the other. Levers are also used just to change the direction of a force.

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