Explore Together (outdoors): Steeper and Steeper Outside

  • blocks (ramp bases)
  • markers
  • paper
  • ramp materials (cardboard tubes, flexible hoses, pieces of gutter, wooden planks, PVC pipes)
  • small objects (some that will roll; some that will slide: e.g., blocks, balls, dice, tubes, markers)
  • tape (masking)
  • bumpy
  • farther
  • move
  • ramp
  • roll
  • rough
  • slide
  • smooth
  • steep
  • surface
  • texture

MA Standards:

English Language Arts/Language/L.PK.MA.6: Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, listening to books read aloud, activities, and play.

MA Draft Standards:

Physical Sciences/Motion and Stability; Forces and Interaction/PS2.A: Plan and carry out investigations of the behaviors of moving things.
Physical Sciences/Motion and Stability; Forces and Interaction /PS2.B: Using evidence, discuss ideas about what is making something move the way it does and how some movements can be controlled. [Cause and Effect, Stability and Change]

Head Start Outcomes:

Logic and Reasoning/Reasoning and Problem Solving: Classifies, compares, and contrasts objects, events, and experiences.
Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Uses senses and tools, including technology, to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.
Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Participates in simple investigations to form hypotheses, gather observations, draw conclusions, and form generalizations.

PreK Learning Guidelines:

English Language Arts/Language 2: Participate actively in discussions, listen to the ideas of others, and ask and answer relevant questions.
Science and Technology/Physical Sciences 19: Explore, describe, and compare the properties of liquids and solids found in children's daily environment.
Science and Technology/Physical Sciences 21: Explore and describe various actions that can change an object’s motion such as pulling, pushing, twisting, rolling, and throwing.

Explore Together (outdoors): Steeper and Steeper Outside

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care. All rights reserved.

STEM Key Concepts: Objects that slide are more likely to move on steeper inclines, and both rolling and sliding objects move faster down steeper inclines; The motion and speed of a rolling or sliding object is affected by the texture of the object and the texture of the surface on which it is rolling or sliding

ELA Focus Skills: Speaking and Listening, Vocabulary

Have children work with a partner as they continue to explore how objects move down ramps. Children will explore as they change the steepness of the incline. 

Bring materials outdoors so children can construct large-scale ramps that can be raised higher and lower. You may want to construct a set of pre-made ramps, side-by-side, of increasing steepness for children to explore.

Ask children to describe the surface texture of the ramp and the texture of the ground it is on. Prompt them to use words such as bumpy, rough, grassy, and smooth to describe the textures. Encourage children to consider the surface texture as they make predictions about how far an object will roll or slide.

Have partners work together to use a piece of tape to mark the spot on the ground where each object stops moving. Then encourage children to dictate, record, or video their observations. As children explore ask questions such as,

  • How could you make that spool go faster than you did the last time?
  • I noticed you made the ramp steeper. What was different about how the marble rolled on the steeper ramp?
  • What do you think might happen if you put the block on the steeper ramp? 

Reflect and Share
Gather children and encourage pairs to share their observations. Have them share their recordings and play back the video to help prompt discussions on children’s predictions and outcomes. Before going focus children's attention on the materials and ask,

  • On what surface did the ball go farthest? Why do you think that surface made the ball travel farthest?
  • Why do you think the spool went farther on the concrete surface than it did on the rough dirt surface?

English Language Learners: Point to the various ramp-making supplies and name them or describe their uses. Have children repeat the names or descriptions after you.

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