Part 1: Move “Pom-Pom Granny” up and down varying ramps to observe the effect of slope on force and velocity. Students will work in groups of four to identify the different parts of a ramp and to calculate ramp length and slope. They will also learn about the accessibility issues that come into play when someone has to use a wheelchair. Students will investigate forces and motion as they learn the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.
Part 2: In groups of three, students will work in assigned roles to investigate the relationship between rise, run and slope of a ramp. Then, students will change ramp rise to determine the effect on the velocity of “Pom-Pom Granny” and her wheelchair. Velocity and speed are often used interchangeably but they mean different things and those concepts will be clarified in this activity.
Part 3: What happens when “Pom-Pom Granny” goes down the ramp in her wheelchair? In this investigation, students will examine the relationships among force, mass and acceleration. In addition, they will be able to relate these topics to the mobility restrictions faced by many of the aging population.
Part 4: “Build a better ramp” is the design challenge your students will tackle in this activity. Using knowledge gained from parts 1, 2, and 3, students will analyze various ramps to determine if they meet ADA guidelines and if not, they will redesign them to make them safer.
Length, height, rise, base, run, slope, Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, velocity, force, mass, acceleration, distance, time