Three Types of Levers - Simple Machines
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Types of Levers

Seesaw

May 2016 - All levers fall into one of three types of lever.

A first-class lever is a stick where the fulcrum is between the weight and the energy moving the weight (your hands, for example). Some common first-class levers are see-saws, crowbars, pliers, scissors (which use two first-class levers together), and a hammer pulling a nail.

Wheelbarrow

A second-class lever is a stick where the fulcrum is at one end of the stick, you push on the other end, and the weight is in the middle of the stick. Some common second-class levers are doors, staplers, wheelbarrows, and can openers.

Baseball bat

A third-class lever is a stick where the fulcrum is at one end of the stick, you push on the middle, and the weight is at the other end of the stick. With a third-class lever, you have to put in more energy than you would just lifting the weight, but you get the weight to move a longer distance in return. Some common examples are a broom, a hoe, a fishing rod, a baseball bat, and our own human arms.

Learn by doing: Find examples of each kind of lever that aren't mentioned here
More about simple machines

Bibliography and further reading about simple machines:

Machines
Physics
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Levers in kits - build your own levers

Advanced lever kit lets you build many different kinds of levers.

A less complicated lever kit - only eight different kinds of levers: balance scale, wheelbarrow, etc.


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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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