Ramp and Roll

Ramps go up and ramps go down. They help us lift things higher. They help us lower things to the ground. Use your scientific inquiry skills and your design thinking skills to learn all about ramps and how they work. 


2 Books:

  • Oscar and the Cricket: A Book About Moving and Rolling by Geoff Waring
  • Newton and Me by Lynne Mayer

Activity: Fetch Thrill Ride

Materials: measuring tape, ramps, spheres of different sizes and materials

Reusable Items: Feel free to use and replace: Foil, sandpaper, vinyl, cardboard

Read Together

Asking your child questions as you read helps them think about the story and encourages them to ask their own questions. Here are some sample questions to ask your child as you read Oscar and the Cricket: A Book About Moving and Rolling by Geoff Waring. This is a book about Oscar, a cat, who finds a ball and doesn’t know what to do with it.

  • What would you do if you found a ball?
  • Ask your child to describe Oscar, the setting, and the different things Oscar is doing.
  • Explain that one thing scientists do is make predictions. Can you predict what will happen when the ball rolls through mud? Investigate the answer.
  • Oscar did a lot of exploring and investigating with the ball and the different ways that he could make it move and roll. He is acting like a scientist! Scientists explore and test their ideas and predictions so they can learn more about how the world works. What predictions can you test using a ball?

Play Together

Playing with your child can be fun for them and for you, and asking questions will help your child learn.

  • Create slides and ramps using different materials such as cardboard, wood or plastic. Start with each one at the same height and length. Change one thing and test again. Explore how different objects’ shapes affect how they roll or slide down a ramp. How is this like the slide at the park?
  • The surface challenge explores the effect of different surfaces and textures on rolling objects. Test how the material influences the movement of a ball./li>
  • Create a ramp that allows an object to go the fastest and farthest. Race. Now change the ramp and race again.
  • Try to knock down objects at the end of the ramp. How does the height and slope of the ramp and the object traveling down the ramp affect how many items are knocked down? Use dominoes, markers, or toilet paper rolls as targets.

Online Activities

Play with shadows; control the weather; and send objects down a ramp.


George must figure out how to build a ramp so that Hundley, a little dachshund, can get out of a basement window.


Peep, Chirp, and Quack discover the thrill of zipping down a slide.


Design a crazy roller coaster ride for a marble—but make sure it doesn’t fly off the track.

CPB Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Education Iowa PBS
PBS Kids
The contents of this document were developed under a cooperative agreement #PRU295A150003, from the U.S. Department of Education. However, these contents do to necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.