Simple Machines: Wedge It! (Grades 3–6)

In this critical reading lesson, students will analyze “Simple Machines: Wedge It!,” written by Glen Phelan, through Questioning the Text as a Content Expert.

Grades 3-6 100-120 min Resource by:

AVID and National Geographic are partnering for the 2022–2023 school year to develop critical reading lessons. This partnership will allow AVID to provide highly engaging and rigorous content through disciplinary literacy—an emphasis on the shared ways of reading, writing, speaking, and thinking within a particular content area or academic field.

In this critical reading lesson, students will analyze “Simple Machines: Wedge It!,” written by Glen Phelan, through Questioning the Text as a Content Expert to engage in a Says, Means, Matters activity. This lesson uses the WICOR® (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, Reading) methodology and strategies from AVID’s curriculum library and is designed for a variety of learning environments.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will examine academic and content-area vocabulary prior to reading the text.
  • Students will navigate the text by collaboratively asking and answering questions.
  • Students will collaborate to further explore how simple machines work.

What You’ll Need



Establish a purpose for reading, build background knowledge, and set students up for success.

Plan for reading by thinking through or having students respond to the following questions. Identify how the chosen text fits within the broader context of your instructional unit so that students are making connections to their prior knowledge:

  • What previously taught content and/or prior knowledge is connected to the new text?
  • What key content-related or general academic vocabulary do students need to know prior to reading the text?

This text meets the following features of an ideal text:

  • Students practice disciplinary literacy as they engage with this text like a content expert.
  • Engagement with this text fosters inquiry and curiosity.

Allow students an opportunity to set up their notes and record the Essential Question before engaging in the learning. Students will be using the Making Connections Through Language strategy in this lesson.



Build vocabulary and engage in purposeful rereads. Vocabulary development can happen at any point in the reading process.

Students will build vocabulary using a List—Group—Label, looking at both academic and content-area words. They will process information in a first and second read of the text and engage in a purposeful reread using the Questioning the Text as a Content Expert strategy.


Reading tasks should be directly connected to what students will do with the text after they have read and understand it.

Students will use the text to develop the Analyze academic thinking skill. They will extend beyond the text using a Says, Means, Matters activity.

*Explore the sample lesson and contact AVID Care by phone at (833) 284-3227 or by email at [email protected] for more information about AVID Weekly® and AVID Elementary Weekly.