Education Technology

Bell Ringer: Mechanical Advantage of an Inclined Plane

Published on 08/06/2010

Activity Overview

Students explore the relationship between resistance force and effort force for an inclined plane.

Key Steps

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    Students determine the formula for the mechanical advantage of an inclined plane. First, they examine data on the force needed to keep a cart from rolling down inclined planes of various heights.

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    They calculate the ratio of the ramp's height to its length and the ratio of the force applied to the cart to the cart's weight. They plot the height ratio vs. the weight ratio and examine the pattern.

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    Finally, they use a simulation of a box on an inclined plane to determine the formula for mechanical advantage.