You will make a model to help you determine how the steepness of a ramp would affect a skateboarder’s impact if he or she crashed. You will roll a ball down ramps of different heights and measure how far the cup at the bottom of the ramp gets pushed when the impact occurs. If the cup goes farther, there is a greater impact.
Do a demonstration of the basic set up of the experiment.
Distribute materials to groups:
- three books
- ruler for making a ramp (the kind with a groove in the middle is best)
- ruler for measuring book stacks and cup movement
- small ball
- Styrofoam cup with an opening cut into it for the rolling ball to enter
Students can complete the experiment in pairs or in small groups. If the students are in small groups, they can each be assigned lab roles.
- person in charge of placing the ball on the ramp
- person in charge of measuring distance moved by the cup
- person in charge of recording measurements
At the upper heights, the cup can slide up to 30 cm. If the desks are not large enough to accommodate this distance, the experiment can be carried out on the floor.
Lab Worksheet for Students: