I Can Go Fast and Far
Children will go fast and far as they explore ramps, how they work and how they can affect an object's speed. Through this activity, children will discover that the steeper the incline of the ramp, the faster and further an object will travel.
Set Up ideas
If you wish to make your own ramps, create a construction zone by arranging various materials such as blocks, boards and anything else used to create interesting inclines.
Let’s Get Started
To get started with this activity, you'll need to gather a few small cars that can roll freely, materials for creating a ramp and items to mark how far objects travel. Ramp materials may include an engineering set or simply a board on blocks to create an incline.
Demonstrate to the children how the cars can slide down a ramp by holding one end of the ramp at an incline and letting a car go down.
Challenge the children to discover ways to make the cars go faster and further by adjusting the materials underneath the chosen ramp (e.g., by building the blocks higher or using a bigger box).
Have the children use an item to mark how far the car goes each time it slides down the ramp so you can discuss distance, as well as speed.
Finally, try replacing the cars with other materials such as balls, blocks, crayons and other materials. Note which materials travel further and the speed at which different items travel.
Bring the discussion to the real world by talking with the children about what they feel like when they ride in a car. Does the car go fast and slow? Explain that if the motor is off in a car, the incline or decline of the road will adjust the car's speed.
Tips and Tricks
After demonstrating some initial concepts, give them a chance to explore the materials and methods of creating and using ramps for themselves. Their own experience will help solidify the concepts being explored.
Follow up Activity
Make a game by having children each prepare a ramp and see whose car goes the farthest. To test for speed, have each child race their cars and watch to see who makes it first past a mark.