In this experiment, students build a paper ramp and use it to launch marbles off a table. Using a foil landing pad, students can determine where the marble lands and relate the distance traveled to the height on the ramp. Throughout the investigation, students relate their findings to the marble’s kinetic and potential energies. Extension studies encourage students to compare the angle of the ramp with the height of the marble and to connect these variables to the distance the marble flies.
this experiment is part of the unit bundle sold in my shop: Force, Motion, & Energy Bundle—Video and Written Instructions
• Gravitational potential energy is related to kinetic energy of a falling object.
• A thrown object makes a parabolic path.
• Vertical freefall can translate into horizontal speed when a ramp is involved.
marbles, cardstock, foil
Extensive teacher notes address the many questions that come up. You shouldn’t have to do outside research on this topic unless you want to.
This lab takes about 30 mins, but with extensions can take longer.
• Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting
Click here to see companion curricular pieces:
Activities on Motion (Newton's Laws)
Complete unit bundle on Force and Motion:
Force, Motion, & Energy Bundle—Video and Written Instructions
Virginia VA SOL
Grade 6: 8A, B
Grade 8: 6A
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