Activity 4C: Granny on the Ramp: Exploring Forces and Motion - Elementary School Version

Recommended for 4th and 5th grade.

Activity Descriptions: Students will observe, predict, make inferences, explore developing a hypothesis and manipulate variables, collect data, and practice metric measurement skills.

Activity 1 – In this activity, students will first participate in a class discussion and reading activity about right triangles and parts of a ramp. Students will then explore the concepts covered in the reading by working in groups, to construct a ramp. Students will move the “Pom Pom Granny” in “wheelchair” up and down the ramp. Using books, students will adjust the height of the ramp. Students will make predictions and observations these changes have on the “Pom Pom Granny”.

Activity 2 – Students will explore how changing the ramp causes changes in Kinetic Energy (KE) and Potential Energy (PE). They will measure the effect of friction on the stop length of “Granny’s wheelchair” after it comes down the ramp. Students will write a hypothesis and put it to the test as they consider independent and dependent variables. Finally, they will bring it all together as they critically think about the results of their experiment.


Right triangle, ramps, slope, vertical, horizontal, rise, run, hypothesis, independent variable, dependent variable, control, friction, forces, kinetic energy, potential energy, multiple trials

Activity Icon - %2
Activity Code: 
Unit Reference: 
Mo-bility: Movement by the Numbers
Lesson Reference: 
Lesson 4: Taking Positive Steps: Accessibility Design