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Ramps 1: Let it Roll!

Source Institutions

    American Association for the Advancement of Science

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Ramps 1: Let it Roll!

In this activity about ramps, learners explore and measure the rate at which spherical objects roll down a ramp. Learners discuss why different ramps work better than others and practice procedures for testing designs and recording results. Learners can design, build, and test their own ramps in "Ramps 2: Ramp Builder," a follow-up activity (see related resource).

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 8

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • thin, stiff, wooden or plastic board, 8-12 inches wide and 12-16 inches long
  • 3 books, each 1 inch thick
  • piece of carpet to place on the board
  • 3-5 spherical objects of a variety of weights and sizes (ping-pong ball, marble, ball bearing, baseball)
  • stopwatch or clock with second hand
  • pencil and paper


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

Includes assesments for student learning

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, AAAS, ©2011

Funding Source:

  • Verizon Foundation Thinkfinity Program


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