Cars and Ramps in the Snow

It is too cold to go outside and play in the snow, so I brought the snow inside. Aiden asked to play with his cars and ramps in the snow. I thought that was a splendid idea and a great idea for some science learning.

Cars and Ramps in the Snow - a fun science exploration!

Cars and Ramps in the Snow

We built a snow castle and placed it in a large bin. Aiden set up a ramp with a launcher.

Cars and Ramps in the Snow - a fun science exploration!

He sent cars racing down the ramp into the castle.

The cars dented the bottom of the castle. Each hit caused the snow to squish in more.

Cars and Ramps in the Snow - a fun science exploration!

Next, he added more snow to the bin. How would this change how the cars crashed into the castle?

Cars and Ramps in the Snow - a fun science exploration!

It depended on the car. Some cars pushed into the castle more than others.

Cars and Ramps in the Snow - a fun science exploration!

Sometimes cars flipped over or spun out of control.

Cars and Ramps in the Snow - a fun science exploration!

Most of the time, Aiden used a launcher to send the cars down the ramp, but he wanted to see what would happen if he didn’t use the launcher, too. I love all of the science happening in this activity. Aiden was asking questions, making predictions, designing an experiment, and testing his ideas. All while playing with cars and ramps in the snow!

Other Snow Ramp Experiment Ideas:

  • Time how long it takes for each car to go down the ramp {with and without a launcher}. Do heavier cars travel faster down the ramp? Does the shape of the car matter? Are shorter cars faster than taller cars? Are longer cars faster?
  • Change the length of the ramp. How does this impact the crash into the snow?
  • Change the height of the ramp.
  • Does changing the amount/depth of snow at the bottom affect anything? How about the way it is packed – loosely vs. tightly?

For more experimenting with ramps, check out our K is for Kinetic Energy post.

K is for Kinetic Energy

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