InventorThink for kids

Inclined Plane: Fun Kids Engineering Project for Young Inventors

Welcome Inventors! Today we will design an inclined plane that is fun for kids and easy for you. This quick 5-step guide ends with a challenge for kids to create a story using their new invention. Let’s get started!

STEP 1: KNOWLEDGE – What is a plane? Webster defines a plane as a flat surface on which a straight line joining any two points on it would wholly lie. I think a picture says it better. Put a rubber ball on a flat plane, and the ball is still.

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STEP 2: SIMPLE APPLICATION – How do you incline your plane? Lift one end up and BAM! You’ve just invented an inclined plane – congratulations!  You may have lost your happy rubber ball.

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STEP 3: LEVEL UP – Now that we have some knowledge and a simple example of how it can be applied, let’s solve a problem or make something new.  You can build an inclined plane out of virtually any flat surface.

My kids and I decide to make a shoot out of our inclined plane. We want a big one, so we find flat materials that we can use to invent a bigger plane: mis-matched tote lids. We need to bind them together, so we use duct tape.

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STEP 4: BUILD IT – We line the lids up side-by-side to create a plane. Duct taping them together proves to be a bit challenging, but we overcome!

Note: if you try this exact invention at home, I recommend duct taping both sides of the tote lids. Ours fell apart the first time! Instead of jumping in to fix it, I let the kids come up with a solution. Experience is the best teacher.

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STEP 5: LAUNCH – We duct tape one end of our plane to the top bunk and BOOM! A successful inclined plane. Although inclined planes are traditionally used to move heavy objects UP the ramp, we opt to send things downhill instead.

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INVENT YOUR STORY! This invention is a now a part of our life story together, and that alone is worth the challenge. But I encourage my kids to invent a story with what we make. We imagine the duct tape lines are train rails, and then we drive steam engines down the ravine into the cavern below. What will you invent with an inclined plane?

Thank you for stopping by today. Please let me know what you think below – and then go. Invent YOUR story! Blessings!

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