ALEX Lesson Plan


Ramp Exploration

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Allison Weaver
System: Muscle Shoals City
School: Howell Graves Preschool
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35636


Ramp Exploration


In this lesson, students will work in groups to design a ramp to increase the speed of a ball. The teacher will guide students' work through careful questioning. After creating different ramps, students will record and report their findings to the class.

This lesson results from the ALEX Resource Gap Project.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: K
31 ) Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups. [SL.K.1]

a. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion). [SL.K.1a]

b. Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges. [SL.K.1b]

SC2015 (2015)
Grade: K
2 ) Use observations and data from investigations to determine if a design solution (e.g., designing a ramp to increase the speed of an object in order to move a stationary object) solves the problem of using force to change the speed or direction of an object.*

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
P4.13: An object is in motion when its position is changing. The speed of an object is defined by how far it travels divided by the amount of time it took to travel that far.

NAEP Statement::
P4.14: The motion of objects can be changed by pushing or pulling. The size of the change is related to the size of the force (push or pull) and the weight (mass) of the object on which the force is exerted. When an object does not move in response to a push or a pull, it is because another push or pull (friction) is being applied by the environment.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Use observations from investigations to determine if a design solution causes the intended change in the speed or direction of the motion of the object.
  • Use data from investigations to determine if a design solution solves a problem of using a push or pull to change an object's motion.
  • Describe the goal of the design solution.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Force
  • Speed
  • Direction
  • Data
  • Observe
  • Describe
  • Engineering
  • Investigation
  • Ask
  • Imagine
  • Plan
  • Create
  • Improve
  • Solution
Students know:
  • The relative speed or direction of the object before a push or pull is applied (e.g., faster, slower).
  • The relative speed or direction of the object after a push or pull is applied.
  • How the relative strength of a push or pull affects the speed or direction of an object (e.g., harder, softer).
Students are able to:
  • Conduct an investigation.
  • Collect and record observations from tests of an object or tool to determine if it works as intended.
  • Organize information in a usable format.
  • Analyze data from tests to determine change in speed or direction.
Students understand that:
  • Simple tests can be designed to gather evidence to support or refute ideas about the effects on the motion of the object caused by changes in the strength or direction of the pushes and pulls.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Push and Pull
*Balls and Ramps, Insights
*Sidewalk Safety, ETA/hand2mind

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.K.2- Observe the movement of objects in a variety of real-world environments.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will:

-design ramps of different heights.

-investigate how the height of a ramp changes the speed of a ball rolling down it.

-participate in a think-pair-share activity to discuss the lesson's vocabulary words.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

I can:

-design a ramp to make an object move.

-observe characteristics of a moving object.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Teacher Materials:

-Vocabulary cards (attached)

-Kahoot! Quiz:

-Class set of "Ramp Exploration" drawing sheets (attached)

Student Materials:  (for each group of 4 children)

-2 ramp pieces of the same length (can be made from molding, scrap wood, or old car race tracks)

-2 rubber balls

-6 two-inch blocks

-2 empty soup cans (without sharp edges)

-6 pieces of masking tape (approx. 2 inches long)

Technology Resources Needed:

-Interactive whiteboard

-Teacher computer

-Chromebooks or iPads for students to play Kahoot! quiz

-Kahoot! quiz:


Teacher Preparation:

  • Print vocabulary cards (attached) on thick paper.
  • Print enough "Ramp Exploration" drawing sheets for the entire class (attached).
  • Cut small pieces of masking tape and stick them to the edge of a table (enough for each group to have at least 6 pieces).
  • Find a large space for each group to work.
  • Gather all the group materials listed under "Materials and Resources" and place in a large box.

Student Background Information/Preparation:

  • In previous learning experiences, students should have been engaged in exploring the movement of balls by throwing, rolling, and bouncing them. Students should have had some free exploration time rolling balls down ramps.
  • Students should know and understand the rules and procedures for "Think-Pair-Share" (sit criss-cross, eye to eye, one friend talks and one friend listens, switch).
  • Students should know and understand the rules and procedures for playing Kahoot!:
    • The teacher will click on the link for Kahoot quiz to display the game number and questions on the interactive whiteboard. The teacher will need to make a Kahoot account if he/she does not already have one.
    • The students will go to on their Chromebooks or iPads.
    • The students will enter their names and the "Balls and Ramps Quiz" number that will be displayed on the board.
    • The teacher will begin the quiz.
    • The students will choose answers in multiple choice questions. Points are given for correct answers.
    • At the end of the quiz, a winner will be shown on the teacher's screen.
    • The teacher can view the results of the entire class.


Before the lesson:

Explicitly introduce the following vocabulary words:

1. Force (show vocabulary card from printed materials)

Define: Force is the push or pull of an object.

Example: Gravity is a force that pulls objects to the Earth.

Ask: How do you use force to close a door?

2. Energy (show vocabulary card from printed materials)

Define: Energy is the ability to do work.

Example: It takes energy to jump in the air.

Ask: What is an outdoor activity that uses energy to do?

Read the learning targets together.

I can:

-design a ramp to make an object move.

-observe characteristics of a moving object.

Divide students into science investigation groups (of 2 students) and use the "Think-Pair-Share" Method.

The students will sit criss-cross, look eye-to-eye with their partner, one friend will talk, and the other friend will listen.

Show the students all the materials in the group boxes. (Students should have had some free exploration time with these materials prior to this lesson.)

The teacher will ask the following questions (and walk around the room to listen to discussions):


  • How can you change the way a ball rolls down a ramp?
  • How do you think you could change a ramp to make the ball go further? 

During the lesson:

Gather the students back as one large group.

Tell students that they will explore what happens to a ball when it rolls down a ramp from a higher place than another ramp.

Remind students of all the materials that will be found in each group's box. Using the materials show students how they will set up 2 different ramps of the same lengths, but different heights (one with one block, the other with two.)

Ask students to suggest how they could compare the two ramps. Their answers might include:

  • Race two balls and the same time and see which gets to the end of the ramp first.
  • Put a can at the end of each ramp and see how far the ball pushes it.
  • Put a block at the end of each ramp and see which one gets knocked over.
  • Use the masking tape to mark where each ball stopped on the ground.

Remind students that good scientists test their results several times.  

Remind students to always start at the top of the ramp and not to push the balls down the ramp, but let gravity work.

Divide students into groups of four.

Direct each group to a large area to perform the task.

Give groups their individual box of materials and show them where the cut masking tape is kept.

The teacher should observe each group during testing and encourage them to try each ramp several times, and make sure students are taking turns with different responsibilities.  

The teacher should ask questions during testing, such as:

  • Are you helping the ball or letting gravity do the work?
  • Are your results for the same for each ramp every time you roll the ball down?
  • What could you do to make the ball roll even faster (without pushing it)?
  • What happens to the can at the end of the ramp? What would happen if you moved the can further from the end of the ramp?
  • Which ramp gives the ball the most energy?
  • What force is used to move the ball down the ramp?
  • What would happen if your ramp was flat? Would the ball be able to roll by itself?  

Give groups plenty of time to test their ramps.  

When finished, have students clean up their ramps, balls, blocks, and cans.  Have students remove masking tape from the floor and throw it away.

After the lesson:

Have students individually draw the ramps from their groups' findings on the "Ramp Exploration" page. Students will be able to answer the questions based on their group exploration.

Have students discuss their findings with their groups.

Have groups present findings with the rest of the class.

Play Kahoot! quiz online.

**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

Assessment Strategies

Formative Assessment: Students will be assessed informally through observation and questioning throughout the entire lesson.

Summative Assessment: Teacher will use the "Ramp Exploration" sheet and the Kahoot! quiz as formal assessment tools.


Have students design a game using the ramps. For example:  Which team can knock over a can at the bottom of the ramp the most times? Have students write the rules for the game and teach it to the entire class.


Provide assistance to promote student thinking during the discussion, think-pair-share time, and group discussions, if needed.

After students complete the "Ramp Exploration" sheet and Kahoot! quiz, reteach concepts of lesson as needed.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.