Ramps Inquiry


Inquiry unit on ramps that integrates different subject areas such as math, language, and science.

Activity Description:

Through observations of student play with blocks and toy cars, the teacher may launch an inquiry unit on ramps. The topic may also be introduced by the teacher through read-alouds or including the materials for children during play with to initiate discussion with the students.


Implementation (Lesson/Activity ideas for the unit):

  • Free exploration: The teacher provides blocks, 3D shapes, and toy cars for students to construct and test out their ramps.


  • Knowledge building circle: Class discussion on student questions and ideas related to ramps. For example, a potential inquiry question would be “Which 3D shapes would roll down the ramp the fastest?”. Based on this question, the teacher would invite students to contribute their theory and the thinking behind their hypothesis. Resources on ramps (ex. Videos on how ramps work) would be available in the classroom for student and teacher reference.


  • Scientific methods: The teacher may introduce the scientific method and suggest to students that they test out different 3D shapes would roll down the ramp the fastest. The teacher would explain how hypotheses (a proposed explanation) can be confirmed or rejected through systematic testing and observations.


  • 3D shapes: Math can also be integrated through the introduction of 3D shapes. Since a potential inquiry question is experimenting how different shapes would affect the speed it rolls down the ramp, The class may examine the different properties of the 3D shape and how it relates to the speed it rolls down the ramps. For example: “What happens when we have shapes with more sides roll down the ramp?”

Suggested Resources: Blocks, 3D shapes, toy cars, fiction/non-fiction books on ramps and shapes

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