Find Three Pulleys in the Wild

A pulley is a mechanical device that can be used to lift heavy objects more easily. Pulleys consist of a wheel that rotates on an axle—which is a rod through the center of the wheel—and a rope, cable, or chain. There are three main types of pulleys: fixed, movable, and compound.

A fixed pulley’s wheel and axle stay in one place. HINT: A good example of a fixed pulley is a flag pole: When you pull down on the rope, the direction of force is redirected by the pulley, and you raise the flag.

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A movable pulley is a pulley that is free to move up and down, and is attached to a ceiling or other object by two lengths of the same rope. Examples of movable pulleys include construction cranes, modern elevators, and some types of weight lifting machines at the gym.

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The third type of pulley is the compound pulley, which consists of combinations of fixed and movable pulleys.

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Note: The fixed pulley will make the object most difficult to lift. The moveable pulley will make the object easier to lift. The compound pulley system will make the object easiest to lift.

Activity Instructions

for Observers (Pre-K through 2nd Grade) and Explorers (3rd Grade through 5th Grade)

Look around your apartment, building and neighborhood. Find three pulleys and post them to the Padlet. 

Explorers Bonus or Alternate ActivityDesign your own pulley using a thread spool, some string, a paperclip and a toy car or something to represent an object. Take a photo or video and upload it to the Padlet.

Turn It In

Post your pulley pictures or your design to Padlet.

If you haven't printed the bingo board page, please print it now. Cross off this activity square, since you've completed it.


You'll bring your bingo board print-out to the PS29 garden on  Sunday, May 23 between 2-4pm to collect your prize. If you're not in Brooklyn, email us and we will send you your prize.