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Simple Machines
Lab 1 - Inclined Plane

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Part 1 - Step by Step

  1. InstructInstruct students to make a prediction for how far the Blue Wheel will roll at the lowest height of the Inclined Plane, and record it on their Data Collection Sheet. They should base their prediction on their observations during the Engage demonstration. Students should explain their predictions on their Data Collection Sheet and during group discussions.
    Predict Distance
    Predict Distance
  2. ModelModel how to explain their predictions using pictures or words.
    • Act out the thought process of making connections between the height of the Inclined Plane and the distance the Blue Wheel can travel.
    • Demonstrate how to measure and record the distance that the Blue Wheel traveled once it has rolled down the Inclined Plane at the lowest height on their Data Collection Sheet.
  3. FacilitateFacilitate by circulating around the room.
    • Check to make sure each group understands how to take accurate measurements and record them on their Data Collection Sheet.
    • Ask students to explain the thinking behind their predictions. How does it relate to balanced and unbalanced forces?
    • Praise students that are showing good teamwork and collaboration.
  4. RemindRemind groups to first make a prediction, record it, write down why they made their prediction, then measure and record the actual distance the Blue Wheel travels. Also remind groups they are only making a prediction and recording the distance that the Blue Wheel travels for one height (the lowest height).
  5. AskAsk students to think about the relationships between the height of the Inclined Plane, how far the Blue Wheel travels, and the accuracy of their prediction.

Mid-Play Break & Group Discussion

As soon as every group has made a prediction and measured the distance traveled of the Blue Wheel at the lowest height of the Inclined Plane, come together for a brief conversation.

  • What data did you collect and why? Consider the purpose of the investigation.
  • Was the actual measurement close to your prediction? What do you think could have made it more accurate?
  • What was the cause and effect relationship that you noticed as you rolled the Blue Wheel down the Inclined Plane?
  • How do you think that changing the height of the Inclined Plane will affect the distance that the Blue Wheel will travel?

Part 2 - Step by Step

  1. InstructInstruct students to make and record predictions on their Data Collection Sheet of how far the Blue Wheel will roll at the second and third height of the Inclined Plane. These predictions are based on their observation of how far it traveled at its lowest height. Students should explain their predictions.
    • Act out the thought process of making connections between the height of the Inclined Plane and the distance the Blue Wheel can travel.
    • Demonstrate how to measure and record the distance that the Blue Wheel traveled once it has rolled down the Inclined Plane at the second and third height on their Data Collection Sheet.
      Video file
  2. ModelModel how to explain their predictions using pictures or words.
  3. FacilitateFacilitate by circulating around the room.
    • Check to make sure each group understands how to take accurate measurements and record them on their Data Collection Sheet.
    • Ask students to explain the thinking behind their predictions. How does it relate to balanced and unbalanced forces?
  4. RemindRemind groups they are making predictions and recording the distance that the Blue Wheel travels for two heights (the middle and tallest height).
  5. AskAsk students to think about the relationships between the height of the Inclined Plane and how far the Blue Wheel travels.
    • Ask students to consider the data collected from the lowest height and how this can help when making new predictions.
    • Ask students to describe their observations: How does the height of the Inclined Plane affect the distance traveled?