Ramp Builder

This lesson is the second in a two-part series on ramp building.In Ramps 1: Let It Roll!, students explore ramps, discuss why different ramps work better than others, and practice procedures for testing designs and recording results.In Ramps 2: Ramp Builder, students design, build, and test their own ramps. They are introduced to a variety of materials and explore putting them together. Students engage in an inquiry-based learning experience to reinforce math, science, and technology standards. They create plans for ramps by evaluating a variety of materials provided to them.As students participate in using and building ramps, they will investigate how forces can move objects or change the direction of movement. They will also have opportunity to ask questions, make logical predictions, plan the investigation, and decide how to represent the data they generate. They will observe the familiar objects (ramp, ball) using their senses, and have opportunity to plan how to change the ramp design to achieve different results.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0007.INQ.1
Observe the world of familiar objects using the senses and tools.
GLE 0007.INQ.2
Ask questions, make logical predictions, plan investigations, and represent data.
GLE 0007.T/E.2
Apply engineering design and creative thinking to solve practical problems.
GLE 0107.11.1
Investigate how forces (push, pull) can move and object or change its direction.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.

Lesson Variations

Extension suggestions: 


Some other activities involving ramps that students might try include:

  • Using a stopwatch to time objects rolling down the ramp, and creating a graph/table
  • Building ramps for moving items up instead of down
  • Testing a variety of objects on a ramp
  • Continuing to explore functions of ramps in their everyday lives

Helpful Hints

Planning Ahead:

You will also need to gather objects for students to roll down their ramps, such as MatchBox cars. You may want to provide colored stickers (or something similar) for the students to mark the distance the objects travel off of the ramp. Students will also need tools with which to measure the distance, such as rulers or cubes (cm).


A variety of ramp building materials, such as:

  • carpet samples
  • pink foam
  • foam wrap
  • wood
  • plywood
  • rubber treads
  • PVC-white
  • PVC-black
  • brick
  • masking tape
  • gutter