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, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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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