This week we have been taking a closer look at the wedge. Wedges help us by separating materials, lifting items, or holding things in place. They are made of two inclined planes put together, and are portable inclined planes, whereas inclined planes are stationary. Good examples of wedges are items made of metal that have a blade (like knives, scissors, and an axe) or a point (like a pin or staples). Keys could also be considered as a wedge because the teeth wedge their way into the tumblers inside a lock.
Primary students have been creating paper wedges in class, then separating the two inclined planes on them and driving toy Matchbox cars down the slopes. (Some have enjoyed jumping the cars on the ramps. :) Its been quite a trick working with the students helping them folds and tape all of the tabs on their paper wedges into place. (We've also discovered the metal teeth on the tape dispenser are a good example of a wedge.)
Intermediate students have enjoyed using the K'Nex sets to build a model of a wedge splitting a piece of wood. These models have been helping them understand how the wedge is used to separate the materials in the wood to split it.
Next week, we will be taking a look at inclined planes.
For more information about wedges, visit these sites: