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Children's Nonfiction Physics

Explore Simple Machines!

With 25 Great Projects

by (author) Anita Yasuda

illustrated by Bryan Stone

Nomad Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2011
Physics, How Things Work-Are Made, Experiments & Projects, Activity Books
Recommended Age
7 to 9
Recommended Grade
2 to 4
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2011
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


From zippers to the Pyramids, rolling pins to catapults, we are surrounded by simple machines. This book will amaze kids with the ingenuity they already possess and inspire them to look differently at the objects they use everyday.

Explore Simple Machines! With 25 Great Projects introduces kids to the concept of “mechanical advantage,” and harnesses kid-power by inviting them to build machines of their own design. It opens their eyes to the diversity of machines in their lives, and sparks the imagination with challenge, humor, and achievable projects.

Explore Simple Machines! dedicates a chapter to each of the six simple machines that were identified centuries ago: levers, inclined planes, pulleys, screws, wedges, and wheels & axles. Kids will develop analytical skills as they figure out where force is applied and what kind of work it generates.

About the authors

Anita Yasuda was (gasp) a girl who couldn’t keep out of her local Sanrio Gift Gate. An avid collector of Japanese pop memorabilia from the 1970s, including textiles and anime, she made friends with Hello Kitty*R while a schoolgirl in Japan. She is the author of Japanese Children’s Fabrics: 1950s-1970s and Japanese Anime Linens: 1970s to Present, both for Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

Anita Yasuda's profile page

Bryan Stone's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the Society of School Librarians International 2012 Honor Award for science books, grades K-6!

Eclectic homeschool
"a wonderful break from regular studies or just as an additional study for those who want to add a bit more to what their science curriculum already covers. Explore Simple Machines! makes a good starting point in introducing the simple machines that make everyone's life simpler."

Calliope Magazine
"Explore Simple Machines! by Anita Yasuda includes among the 25 projects: make a helicopter, make a pulley, chopstick challenge, and a friction experiment. Keeping the reader’s interest throughout are “Did You Know” facts, “Then and Now” fascinating tidbits, and engaging sidebars."

National Science Teachers Association
"Want to make physical work easier” Could you push a wheel barrow up a hill” Could it be that the design of the wheelbarrow makes pushing easier” How about using a wedge or a pulley” From the front cover, this book invites the reader to explore simple machines. . . This is not your usual activity book. Written for the student, with inquiry in mind, the explanations are simple and easy to follow, and there is an explanation of what is happening and questions to extend the learning. I would use this book with young scientists in my class, and I would also put the materials in a center for young children to explore, make, and do.. . I honestly didn't think simple machines were fun or easy to understand. This book changed that for me and for my students."

Children's Literature Review
" Simple Machines are not simple, but they are common. What Yasuda does extremely well is introduce the abstract physics concepts of gravity, friction and force. She is also good at showing how we use simple machines in everyday life and her projects are fun and very doable. “Simple machines have few or no moving parts,” she writes in the introduction. “They help us to pull, push, lift and divide. Your muscle power--not electricity or gasoline--makes them work.” Yasuda writes clearly and energetically throughout the book. . . the projects are fun. Back matter includes a glossary, list of resources and index."

"Teachers with students in the lower grades and parents home schooling their children will want to check out this book."

"This new entry in the Explore Your World Series introduces the six simple machines in enough detail to include worm gears, all three kinds of levers, compound pulleys, and unusual examples such as boats (a type of wedge) and canal locks (an inclined plane). Yasuda writes in particularly clear, simple Language, and intersperses her explanations with historical notes, jokes that even the target Audience will find laughably lame (?What did the apple say to the wedge” You split me up!”) and 25 easy projects or demonstrations constructed from common materials. She also repeatedly urges readers to spot and classify the simple machines that are all around, encourages the use of a science notebook, and closes her discourse with descriptions of what inventors and engineers do. Illustrated with simple black-and-white cartoons and capped with well-considered lists of print and other resources, this makes a serviceable hands-on guide to the topic."

Marla Conn, Educational Consultant
?Explore Simple Machines! provides well-organized informational text using important text features and simple, straightforward narrative that will enable students to gain knowledge in this area of study. The activities in this book are critical to making connections between what the student has learned and how that affects their world. As students make these connections using hands-on projects, they internalize information.”

Other titles by Anita Yasuda

Other titles by Bryan Stone