This column is devoted to looking at a particular technological system - machines.  Machines can be simple or complex and are used throughout the ancient and modern worlds.  For example, the wheel is a simple machine found in the ancient world, yet indispensable in the modern world. However, the lawn mower is a complex machine invented in modern times and unheard of in the ancient world.  As children learn about machines past and present,  how they operate and how they are used,  they gain a sense of how humans have controlled their world over time.

Zoo Machines

Invent a machine that will take care of animals in a zoo. See other student machines or submit your own.
Look, Learn, and Do Projects
At "Look, Learn and Do" not only do students learn the history of a simple machine, but they also learn how to design and build some simple machines like a blimp, sailboat, windmill, and compass using household items.
The Franklin Institute Spotlight
The Franklin Institute highlights topics that interest educators.  For example, their "Spotlight on Simple Machines" incorporates outside Web resources that are useful in classrooms or just fun to explore at home.
Exploring Leonardo da Vinci
Explore this site and learn about this fascinating scientist, inventor, and artist.
Inventors Toolbox: The Elements of Simple Machines
Inventors Toolbox uses pictures of simple machines since the time of Leonardo da Vinci.
Leonardo's Mysterious Machinery
At Leonardo's Mysterious Machinery you can not only view eight of Leonardo's inventions, but you can also guess which option best describes it.
Work is Simple with Simple Machines
Work is Simple with Simple Machines provides a complete overview of simple machines, classroom activities, useful web sites, and resources to create this product.
Marvelous Machines
Marvelous Machines is a series of experiments about simple machines: levers, wheels and inclined planes. This unit was designed for use in the third grade, but can easily be adapted for use with other grade levels.
The British Lawnmower Museum
British Lawnmower Museum collection has over 100 machines displayed. The collection includes such names as Rolls Royce, Royal Enfield, Hawker Siddley, Perkins Diesel. They form a tribute to the garden machine industry and its development over the past 160 years of British engineering history.
Kids Farm Equipment
Pictures and information about  machines used on this farm include the hay balers,
front end loader, tractors, trucks, and rake in Colorado.
Amazing Web Page of Alexis
A seven year-old boy describes his wacky Rube Goldberg contest machine that won First Place! Great pictures and links on Rube Goldberg, inventing, science, and machines.
Amazing Picture Machine
Amazing Picture Machine shows photos of most anything and  are easily accessible.