Construction And Building

Building Ramps

This month’s building is experience is the science and engineering activity of building ramps or inclined planes.

Materials (any of the following):

  • Any of the following:
  • Wooden Boards, blocks
  • Stiff Cardboard
  • Rain gutters
  • Tubes
  • PVC pipes
  • Something to use to create the inclined plane (Example: table, chairs, large hollow blocks)
  • Something that rolls (Example: marbles, golf balls, small toy cars, pool rings)
  • Something that may slide (Example: small wooden blocks)

The Experience: Organize and place ramp building in a large space to allow the child to move freely and manipulate the objects. The adult can set up a ramp as a provocation and inspiration. Still, for the most part, the children should be allowed to explore the materials provided.

Interaction Model:

Adult: Today, I set out rain gutters and boards for you to use to build ramps or Inclined plains. I also put out these small wooden cubes and golf balls for you to explore how they go down the ramps.

Then let the children play and explore. Observe, take notes, and wait for moments to ask questions that may extend the child’s exploration.

Possible questions:

  • What happens if you raise your ramp? 
  • Will the ball roll faster or slower?
  • First, you slid the wooden cube down the ramp, and then you rolled the golf ball rolls. What will happen if you let them go down together? Which object will make it to the bottom first?

Other question:

  • How do you make the ramp stable?
  • How far will the ball roll after it goes down the ramp?
    • Then take out a measuring tool and help the child document their experiment

Learning Outcome:

  • The child explores by engaging in specific observations, manipulations, and questions.
  • The child is developing an understanding of measurable properties such as speed and distance.
  • The child develops an increasing ability to compare, match, and sort objects into groups according to their attributes.
  • The child develops the capacity to describe and record observations and investigations about objects.
  • The child develops and demonstrates an increasing ability to observe, anticipate, and reason about cause and effect.
  • The child is increasing their understanding of mathematical and engineering terms.