1M20.40 Giant Lever


Mechanical advantage, torque, work, energy


A lever can be used to lift a person.



  • [1] Wooden beam
  • [1] Fulcrum
  • [1] Steel rod 

Safety Equipment

  • [2] Safety glove

Classroom Assembly

  1. Put the fulcrum near a table or lectern that a volunteer can grab.
  2. Mount the beam on the fulcrum with the short end near the table or lectern. The ratio of lengths for the short arm to the long arm can be 1:2 or 1:3.

Important Notes

  • Wear gloves when lifting the beam by hand. The wood tends to splinter.
  • The person standing on the lever should have a spot to hold on in case she or he loses balance.


  1. Put on the gloves.
  2. Lift the long arm of the lever so that the short arm touches the ground.
  3. Get a big, beefy volunteer to stand on the short arm of the lever.
  4. Push down on the long arm of the lever using the gloves, raising the volunteer.
  5. Slowly let the volunteer back down.

Variant: small and weak-looking second volunteer lifts the big beefy one. In that case, the lifter should wear the gloves and know not to drop the big beefy person at the end.


Additional Resources


  • PIRA 1M20.40
  • "Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world." – Archimedes


  • Don't attempt this at home!

Last revised

  • 2017


Related AV

Related demos

  • Pulleys


If you have any questions about the demos or notes you would like to add to this page, contact Ricky Chu at ricky_chu AT sfu DOT ca.