Lesson - Ramp It Up!

Energy images


Title: Ramp It Up Challenge
Grade: 4th Grade
Duration: Two – 45 Minute Lessons

Science – SC.4.P.10.1

Observe and describe some basic forms of energy, including light, heat, sound, electrical, and the energy of motion (kinetic energy).

Mathematics – MAFS.K12.MP.1
Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category,and identify right triangles.

Language Arts – LAFS.4.L.3.4

  • Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • Use context (e.g., definitions, examples, or restatements in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
  • Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., telegraph, photograph, autograph).
  • Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses) both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of keywords and phrases.


The student will ….

  • Engage in dialogue with the science and math terms presented.
  • Make reasonable predictions about both potential and kinetic energy.
  • Use information, observations, and knowledge to revise designs and answer the guided questions throughout the lesson.
  • Have reasonable knowledge of energy in motion.


Energy Ramps Angles Measurement Kinetic Energy • Potential Energy Investigate Construct Fastest Farthest Accuracy


Before students test out ramps, have kids make predictions:

  • How does the height of the ramp have any effect on the speed and or distance of the ball?
  • How do different angles affect the speed and distance of a ball ?
  • Which ramp do they think will make the ball go the farthest and the fastest?


Student group tables will have:

  • Tennis balls
  • Duct tape (painter’s tape may not as sturdy but it’s easier to remove)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Blocks
  • Paper


Prior to starting students MUST put their engineering hats on.

Engineers use the engineering design process when solving a problem. They should use this process as they create the design of the ramp(s).

The engineering process involves 5 main steps. Review this process with them. Students should answer questions on a separate sheet of paper

  1. ASK questions that will help you achieve your goal.
  2. IMAGINE at least two possibilities for design.
    • What could be some solutions?
    • Brainstorm ideas.
  3. PLAN the design before building.
    • Combine ideas to come up with a final design.
    • Make a list of the materials needed.
  4. CREATE at least one design solution.
    • Follow the plan and create it.
  5. IMPROVE the current design based on evidence around the original design criteria.
    • Make the design better.
    • Test it out!


  • Have kids select a group of 3 blocks to create height of ramp.
  • Have them secure the ramp with tape.
  • Place ruler at an angle over the blocks to create an off-ramp.
  • Secure with tape.
  • Measure angle(s) of ramp.
  • Roll the ball to investigate speed and distance.
  • Have kids measure the distance produced by each ramp.
  • Use the timer to determine which ramp makes the balls go faster.
  • Complete the process again increasing the height of the ramp by 5, 7, 9 etc…
  • Compare the findings.

Summative Reflective Assessment

Students will write a reflection paper on their experience and the knowledge they gained during the learning challenge.

Use the following questions as a guide.

  • Was your first design successful? Why or why not?
  • Did the data your group collected throughout the challenge help the group make decisions?How?
  • How did your group decide which building materials would be used?
  • What modifications were made to your original design? If these proved successful, explain why?
  • What contributions did you make as a member of your group when completing this challenge?

Discussion (5 Minutes)

The teacher will ask students:

  • To describe any similar ideas (multiple groups used).
  • To describe different ideas groups came up with.
  • Why they think some designs came closer to meeting their prediction?
  • Did your team’s design meet the goal? Why or why not?
  • Did your design improve? How?
  • Are there any changes you would still like to make to your design? Why?
  • What did you learn about kinetic energy in completing this challenge?