Education Technology

Lifting a Lion

Activity Overview

In this activity, students will practice solving a real-world problem. Using a toy lion and a lever, students first discover how much work is needed to raise a toy lion. They will then use proportions to determine the force needed to lift a real lion.


Students will explore the following concepts in this activity:

  • problem solving
  • force
  • simple machines
  • measurement
  • multiplication
  • division
  • ratios

About the Lesson

To introduce the activity, read the first section of the book How Do You Lift a Lion? by Robert E. Wells to the students. Discuss with the students the parts of a lever shown in the book and demonstrate making a lever with a 12-inch ruler, with a pencil as a fulcrum.

Distribute the student activity sheet and have students read the details around the problem they will be solving.

The Problem: How much effort will it take to lift a lion with a lever?

Review the four problem solving steps with students:

  • Understanding the problem
  • Making a plan
  • Carrying out the plan
  • Evaluating the solution

Students will predict the amount of work it will take to lift a real lion with the fulcrum at different distances. Students will then write an explanation about their solution process. Students will then use their TI-15 calculator to solve problems Using Proportions