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Keep one plank bare. Cover other planks with different materials. Create a ramp  by propping up one end of the plank. Let children roll toy cars down the ramps to explore differences in speed and distance traveled. Ask children to make predictions about how different materials affect speed and distance. 

Questions You May Ask 

⚙ What other material can we cover the planks with?
⚙ What do you think will happen if we make the ramp 

⚙ What else can you roll down the ramp?
⚙ Why do you think the cars roll more slowly down some
ramps and faster down others?

Related Children's Books

⚙ Roll, Slope, and Slide: A Book about Ramps by Michael Dahl


⚙ 3 years and up

Time and Place

⚙ Any time of day

⚙ Any time of year

⚙ Indoors or outdoors


⚙ Several wooden planks or pieces of sturdy cardboard
⚙ Materials of different texture to cover the planks (e.g., bubble wrap, shelf liner, fabric)
⚙ Toy vehicles and other objects


⚙ Supervise children at all times 

Play-based Context

The children were using planks for building. Knowing the children were also interested in vehicles, the educator connected the two interests and built a ramp. Children then explored different ramps, indoors and outdoors, in all kinds of weather.

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