|What is the wedge? The wedge is one of the simple machines.|
Wedges are actually 2 inclined planes joined back to back. A wedge is thinner at one end and wider at the other. Some of our teeth are considered wedges and help us to chew and break our food apart.
*It is important for students to have the opportunity to see and use wedges.
Examples of Wedges: axe blade, chisel, zippers, most knives, door stoppers, nails, cheese grater, staple puller, thumb tack
Have students describe wedges.
Brainstorm all the things that wedges are used for.
Brainstorm how wedges are made and what materials they might be made from.
Discuss the difference and similarities between wedges and inclined planes.
Have a variety of wedges available for students to experiment with. Invite the custodian/janitor in to discuss how wedges might be used day to day in the school.
Brainstorm all the places you might see wedges.
Discuss how ships/boats have a wedge shape at the bottom and determine why that might be.
Why does a wedge help with moving objects? (less force required)
Explain how a pizza cutter can be a wheel and axle and a wedge.
Discuss why the wedge is effective for breaking up icebergs.
Demonstrate the effectiveness of a wedge by cutting buns or bread. Use a knife on the opposite side to cut the bread/buns—discuss which is easier and why.