Science Activity for Kids: Fun With an Inclined Plane
Hands-on activities provide opportunities for kids to experiment and discover as they play. You can easily make an inclined plane for a fun science activity that will have kids racing toy cars, building obstacles and measuring distances.
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STEAM activities combine math and technology - and more! - to inspire kids to explore their environment. In this activity, a simple inclined plane introduces STEAM in a way that is easy for grownups to help set up and fun for kids to do.
Two options for an inclined plane are included in this activity: the first inclined plane is a wooden rib from a window blind; the second inclined plane is a rectangular piece of cardboard.
Other materials can easily be used for this activity. The fun and learning begin when you create the inclined plane!
1. This inclined plane is a single wooden rib from a window shade similar to this wood blind. It has a smooth surface so the cars slide down quickly.
2. Rest one end of the plane against a low bench or chair.
3. Place strips of craft tape on the floor to measure and compare distances the cars travel.
4. Build a pyramid at the base of the inclined plane for the cars to knock over.
Experiment with a variety of materials, including wood blocks, plastic cups, a pile of cotton balls or a stack of marshmallows!
We've used lots of household items, including these recyclables as stacking toys.
1. Make an inclined plane with a wide piece of cardboard so two or more cars can race together.
2. Make a fold near the top of the cardboard so the top portion lies flat on the seat of a bench or chair. This is the starting line for the racing cars. Secure the cardboard to the bench with masking tape.
3. Kids can color or decorate the cardboard.
4. Place a cardboard tunnel at the end of the inclined plane. Measure the distance the cars go when they leave the tunnel with a tape measure or ruler.
Learning through play
- Experiment with vehicles of different sizes.
- Race plastic, metal and wood vehicles against each other.
- Vary the slope of the inclined plane.
- Sort vehicles according to observations such as: the one that goes fastest; the one that goes farthest; the one that rolls off the inclined plane.
With so many possibilities for setup, this activity can easily be used with kids of different ages.
Math and science can be explored and promoted according to the interest and skill levels of the kids.
More hands-on fun with simple machines from bloggers we love:
A Simple Machine: The Pulley from Hands On As We Grow
Launching With a Lever from Buggy and Buddy
Simple Catapult for Kids from Little Bins for Little Hands
Find more STEM activities on our Pinterest board.