In ArithMachines students develop their understanding of force and motion. As students solve the challenges presented in these lessons they discover how levers and lever systems work. They learn about the ratio of inputs to outputs, both in terms of the distances they move, and in terms of the forces involved. Students experience the proportional relationships that govern forces and distances in lever systems. They apply this knowledge to the construct their own MechAnimations.

MechAnimations are two dimensional representations of people, animals, or events that are animated by a mechanism hidden within.  Students make working models for their MechAnimations using pegboard pieces. Pegboard pieces allow students to quickly see how different ways of connecting pieces will work.  When they find an arrangement of links and levers that models the movements they want in a MechAnimation, this becomes a model for the mechanism to put inside their MechAnimation.  Examples of MechAnimations by fifth graders can be seen above.

The ArithMachine curriculum may be downloaded through the link below.  The alignment of ArithMachines with state and national standards in science, mathematics and ELA may also be downloaded.

ArithMachines Curriculum


ArithMachines Curriculum: pdf


ArithMachines Aligned to State Science Standards

Arithmachines State Science.doc

ArithMachines Aligned to State Math Standards

Arithmachines State Math.doc

ArithMachines Aligned to National Standards

Arithmachines National.doc

Unit Lessons

City Technology, The City College of New York, NAC Building 6/207, New York, NY 10031 Tel. 212 650 8389 Fax. 212 650 6268 Email: