A Guide to Simple Machines Used in Cars

Written by Carly Hallman

As people perform work, simple machines can make tasks easier by pushing or pulling objects over a distance. Simple machines include pulleys, wheels and axles, levers, inclined planes, screws, and wedges. When more than one simple machine works together, they create a compound machine.


Wheels and Axles


Inclined Planes

  • Simple and Complex Machines – This web page introduces the ramp as a simple machine.
  • The Ramp – Follow instructions on this web page to test the effectiveness of the inclined plane with household objects.
  • Inclined Plane – Use this teacher’s guide to show students how an inclined plane moves materials.
  • Acceleration Lab – Teach students about inclined planes and math concepts to measure the relationship between plane angle and acceleration.
  • Inclined Plane – This lesson plan introduces planes and wedges as tools and provides suggestions for testing effectiveness.


  • Machines in Motion – Use this guide to describe the purpose of screws. The lesson plan suggests several ways for students to experiment with screws.
  • Second Grade Work & Simple Machines Unit – This lesson plan offers activities for teaching students about simple machines, including a scavenger hunt.
  • Simple Machines Stations – Teach students about screws at a screw station, complete with materials that enable experimentation and testing.
  • Simple Machines – This web page explains the combination of an inclined plane and a cylinder to create a screw.
  • Science of Simple Machines – This web page presents a web quest to students to explore simple machines, including the screw.

Compound Machines


Other Resources