Brief Description:

Students will practice building inclined planes of all sorts (tubes, ramps, tilts) in order to have a ball object roll across the table/space.

Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6

Time: 1 hour

Keywords: inclined planes, ramps, lego, simple machines, found materials

Lesson Objectives

  • Introduce students to inclined planes


  • Marbles or ping pong balls
  • Legos
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Toilet paper tubes
  • Other found materials


  1. Introduce inclined planes.
    1. A plane is a flat surface. An inclined plane is said flat surface positioned at an angle so that one side is higher than the other.
    2. An object placed on an inclined plane will often slide down the surface. The rate at which the object slides down the surface is dependent upon the angle of incline. The greater the tilt of the surface, the faster the rate at which the object will slide down it.
  2. Challenge the students to build a series of 2-3 inclined planes that a ball can roll down to get across a table/space.
  3. Allow students to build
  4. Present at the end of class. What was difficult about this challenge? What worked? What did not work?

Extensions and Modifications:

Tufts Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program • 200 Boston Ave. • Suite G810 • Medford, MA • 617-627-5888

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