Ramp Race

Activity Summary

Students will investigate how to slow an object’s speed as it travels down a ramp.

Video Engagement Links

Required Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Cardboard (cut into 20cm × 30cm size, one per team)
  • Glue
  • Felt strips
  • Sandpaper strips
  • Aluminum foil strips
  • Quarter (one per team)
  • Paper Towels
  • Masking tape
  • Stopwatch

Before the activity, set up an area where the ramp testing will take place. To ensure the inclines are all the same, use a stack of books 12 cm tall that the cardboard pieces will rest against to create the ramp. If each team cannot have its own stack of books, teams can take turns.

Be sure teams understand how to time their coins as they move down the ramp. Demonstrate how to start with the coin flush with the top of the cardboard.

Timing should begin when the coin is released and should be stopped when the coin reaches the end of the cardboard. Having all teams timing in the same way is important for the challenge portion of this activity.

Briefly review how to determine averages. Depending on grade level, the facilitator may need to calculate average times for each team.

Standards Covered

NGSS Standard(s): 3-ETS1-1, 3-ETS1-2, 3-ETS1-3, 3-PS2-1, 3-PS2-2, 4-ETS1-1, 4-ETS1-2, 4-ETS1-3, 4-PS3-1, 5-ETS1-1, 5-ETS1-2, 5-ETS1-3

CCSS Standard(s): ELA, Math, MP.2, MP.4, MP.5, W.3.2, W.4.2, W.5.2