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In this activity, students model a biceps curl using a lever system. The model measures the force in the biceps muscle when the forearm is carrying a mass held horizontally.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • describe how the arm is an example of a lever (in which the elbow is a hinge)
  • use a model of this hinged lever to measure the forces acting
  • describe the size and direction of the forces acting on this hinged lever
  • explain that the force produced by the biceps muscles pulling on the bone of the forearm is much greater than the load of the weight force at the hand.

Download the Word file (see link below) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do.

Nature of science

Scientists often use models to make and test predictions. For this reason, the New Zealand Curriculum’s Investigating in science achievement aim asks students to carry out science investigations using a variety of approaches, including the use of models.

    Published 21 June 2007, Updated 22 November 2013 Referencing Hub articles