17 March 2013

Simple Machines and Leprechaun Traps

So I was clicking through Pinterest a couple weeks ago, and I was totally inspired by this freebie by Khrys of Keepin’ It Kool in Kinderland. How adorable, right?

Well I knew that while my students would totally appreciate having a fun project like this...I wasn’t exactly sure how to swing an only fun project in 4th grade with testing a month away. Until...LIGHTBULB...hello! We are studying simple machines! Leprechaun traps would definitely need a simple machine! Voila...project on!

Now I had to tweak Khrys’ project idea to make it fit our needs...and because we are in fourth grade...I needed to add a written portion with a rubric too!

My students turned in their projects on Friday, and they are so adorable and creative! Just look...

This trap is called “Gold and Green and Glitter, Oh My!” with the simple machine of inclined plane...
As the student said, “The leprechaun is so distracted by the gold it walks over the edge of the inclined plane and gets stuck!”

Here is “Leprechaun CafĂ©” with a wedge (sorry the leprechaun already sprung this one)...

I love this adorable trap called “Lucky Larry” with a ladder acting as an inclined plane...

The leprechaun climbs the ladder for some decoy gold awaits on the top of the hat. Well, that hat’s top is actually just made of cotton which falls and traps the leprechaun inside the hat!

This is a portable trap called “The Pet Leprechaun Trap.” It uses a lever (the top pulled shut by a string!)

Here is another trap that the leprechaun defeated. It works with a shamrock decoy attached to a pulley, which springs the trap...

Just look at “Leprechaun’s Bad Day” with two simple machines, pulley and screw...

The leprechaun walks down the walkway, in the door, and pulls on the bag of gold. Pulling on the bag of gold releases a mechanism that causes the door to slide down thus causing the leprechaun to have a very bad day.

As you can see from the pictures, we already had a “leprechaun” visit on Friday after the students left. “He” got caught and escaped from the traps but did leave behind some chocolate gold coins and lots of confetti and glitter all over the place! Hopefully, the school custodian won’t get too upset with the “leprechaun” for what a confetti, glitter mess “he” made! ;)

I know it is kind of late for you to make Simple Machine Leprechaun Traps this year with your students, but please go download a free copy of this project to do with your students next year. I know they will love it as much as my students did!

P.S. Have you seen this story about the Los Angeles boy, Caine, and his arcade? This video has been inspiring my students to be creative, invent, and create!


  1. I LOVE Caine's Arcade! I think I might have even teared up a bit the first time I saw it.... Thank you for sharing this awesome simple machine project!
    ideas by jivey

  2. Great idea! How about troll and elf traps? Would they be any different?!

    Did you know that many Icelandic people still believe in trolls and elves? Trolls live underneath rocks and in forests. They only come out at night and get very upset if they are disturbed.

    I think I saw one when I visited iceland.. or was it just a figment of my imagination?


  3. what do u use to make the gol and green and glitter,oh my


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