Monday, March 25, 2013

Ramps, Gravity and Marble Mazes

The kids have been working hard to create ramps to make their cars go certain distances.  To reinforce what we have been investigating we did some experiments dealing with ramps.

I got this lesson from an amazing teacher in our building, Mrs. Atkin!  I tied a string to a piece of cardboard.  The kids were to try to make a ramp that would make a cylinder stop rolling when it got to the end of the string.  It was great watching the kids adjust the ramp based on what happened when the other kids rolled the cylinder down the ramp.  They realized right away that the cylinder went way to far if the incline was high!  You could see the problem solving going on in their brains by looking at their faces!  They were concentrating so hard!  They were also verbalizing to their friends things to try! It took two rounds of trying before one of the kids got it to stop at the end of the string!

Through this experience, they learned that if a ramp is high, objects will roll faster and further.  If a ramp is low, objects will move slower and not as far.  But why?  I decided to give them another experience about gravity to see if they would make a connection.

The kids timed how long it took to for a ball to hit the ground when dropped.  We discussed how gravity pulls down very fast!

We then timed how long it took a ball to roll down a low incline and a high incline.

We discussed how the ball was much slower rolling down a low incline and it rolled down the steep incline much faster!  They realized that gravity pulls an object down a steep ramp faster. The lower ramp was almost "blocking" gravity!

 My favorite part of this experience was their documentation.  They really did a great job recording what they noticed!

Next, the kids made some marble mazes.  They came up with a plan, then put their mazes together.  We used puff balls instead of marbles.

When they played with them, they noticed that if they had too steep of an incline, the puff ball would just go over all of the straws.  They figured out that they could control the speed of the puff balls by the incline they created to move it through the maze slower.

They had a lot of fun playing with these.  This experience gave them some ideas for the type of projects they want to do to show our learning, which we will start this week!  Here is a sneak peak of something I made for one of their ideas!

A giant geoboard!  It is huge!!!


  1. Thanks for sharing! This page was very informative and I enjoyed it. car ramps

  2. Great article! I am definitely going to try it with my Phoenix pre-k students. This giant “geoboard’ is just tremendous! Thanks for sharing all these activities that you use in your kindergarten classroom!

  3. Ramps, Gravity and Marble Mazes. The kids have been working hard to create ramps to make their cars go certain distances. To reinforce what ...