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This lesson provided by:
Author:Jane Caudle
System: Madison City
School: Discovery Middle School
Lesson Plan ID: 24098

Incline Plane and the Crashing Marble


Students will measure the effects of the height of an inclined plane on the force a marble produces to move a plastic, foam, or paper cup across a table. Students will discover that the higher the incline plane, the more force produced by the marble, which moves the cup a greater distance. Students will also learn how to graph data and discover the appropriate graph to use for comparison.
This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.

Content Standard(s):
SC(8) 1. Identify steps within the scientific process.
SC(8) 8. Identify Newton's three laws of motion.
SC(8) 9. Describe how mechanical advantages of simple machines reduce the amount of force needed for work.
SC(8) 10. Differentiate between potential and kinetic energy.
MA2015(6) 20. Use variables to represent two quantities in a real-world problem that change in relationship to one another; write an equation to express one quantity, thought of as the dependent variable, in terms of the other quantity, thought of as the independent variable. Analyze the relationship between the dependent and independent variables using graphs and tables, and relate these to the equation. [6-EE9]
MA2015(7) 3. Use proportional relationships to solve multistep ratio and percent problems. [7-RP3]
MA2015(8) 7. Graph proportional relationships, interpreting the unit rate as the slope of the graph. Compare two different proportional relationships represented in different ways. [8-EE5]
MA2015(8) 8. Use similar triangles to explain why the slope m is the same between any two distinct points on a non-vertical line in the coordinate plane; derive the equation y = mx for a line through the origin and the equation y = mx + b for a line intercepting the vertical axis at b. [8-EE6]
MA2015(8) 14. Construct a function to model a linear relationship between two quantities. Determine the rate of change and initial value of the function from a description of a relationship or from two (x,y) values, including reading these from a table or from a graph. Interpret the rate of change and initial value of linear function in terms of the situation it models and in terms of its graph or a table of values. [8-F4]
MA2015(8) 15. Describe qualitatively the functional relationship between two quantities by analyzing a graph (e.g., where the function is increasing or decreasing, linear or nonlinear). Sketch a graph that exhibits the qualitative features of a function that has been described verbally. [8-F5]
Local/National Standards:

NSTA National Science Content Standard A for grades 5-8: As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry. NSTA National Standard B in grades 5-8: As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop an understanding of motions and forces.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will conclude that the higher the incline plane, the greater the force produced by the marble and the greater the distance the cup will be moved from its starting point.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will produce charts and graphs of their data. Students will compare data from different groups.

Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 61 to 90 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

Materials needed for cooperative groups of 2-4 students:
1. A plastic ruler with a groove down its length.
2. A ruler to measure the distance the cup moves and the height of the ramp.
3. A marble.
4. Four books or other objects to raise the height of the ruler.
5. One plastic, foam, or paper cup with a section cut away so the marble can easily roll into it when the cup is placed upside down on the table.
6. A chart into which to place the data.
7. Graph paper.
8. Scissors to cut an opening in the cup.

Technology Resources Needed:

Internet web resources: Thinkfinity


Students should know that an incline plane is a simple machine. Simple machines produce a mechanical advantage. Students will know how to use a metric system measurement for distance. Students should know how to make charts and graphs for the data.

1.)Divide the class into cooperative groups of 2-4 students with a diverse population. Each group will be composed of students of different gender and learning abilities.

2.)Students will construct a ramp using one book and the ruler with the center groove.
(Constructing a Incline Plane)
This is an Internet interactive website to produce inclined plane of varying angles.

3.)Students will cut away a section of a cup so the marble can easily roll into it when the cup is placed upside down on the table. Place the cup at the bottom on the ruler.

4.)Students will construct a chart to show data.
(Making a chart)
Shows how to make a chart

5.)Students will measure the height of the ramp at the highest point, and then roll a marble down the ramp.
(Metric System Measurement)
Review how to measure in metric units.

6.)Students will measure how far the cup moved after the marble crashed into it. Record this distance in the chart.

7.)Students will place the cup back in its original position and roll the marble down the ramp at this height two more times for a total of three repeated trials.

8.)Students will repeat Steps 5-7, changing the height of the ramp by using 2, 3, or 4 more books.

9.)The teacher will collect data from all cooperative groups and project this data on a chart for the class to view. (This may be on the white board or done through a computer-generated program and projected on the wall.)
(Making a chart)
The teacher can import student information into a computer-generated chart.

10.)The students will brainstorm with their cooperative group and choose the correct type of graph and graph the average distance for each height.
(Making a graph)
Data can be placed into this Internet site and a graph will be created.

11.)To conclude this activity, the students will answer the following questions: How does your cooperative group's data compare with the other groups? What is the purpose of this lab? What type of graph should be used, and what is your reasoning behind choosing this type of graph?
(Why use a cooperative group?)
This Internet website explores the reason to use cooperative groups and how to build the group.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. graph and chart rubric.rtf
Assessment Strategies:

Students will be assessed by grading the completed chart and graph for mathematical errors. (Groups may be given one grade or the individual students may be responsible for their own paperwork. See attachments for a rubric.) Conclusions will be graded according to accuracy.


Students will compare the movement of a plastic, foam, and a paper cup. Why is the movement different for the different types of cups? Students will measure the angle produced by the inclined plane. (As the angle increases, the force of the marble increases).


Students will brainstorm by comparing his chart and graph with the other members of his cooperative group.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

Hosted by Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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