This egg race project teaches about physics concepts like force, friction, and gravity. Customize your egg and/or your ramp and see how it changes your results.
Variation: Instead of using a stopwatch, you could make two ramps of the same length and race plastic eggs down them with a sibling or friend. Try putting both ramps at the same level of incline, then changing only one ramp, and then try putting different objects inside your eggs to see if the speed at which they travel down the ramp changes!
You created a ramp out of the cardboard flaps. A ramp is a type of simple machine called a wedge. A wedge reduces the amount of work needed to move an object upwards. We used the ramp in this example in the opposite way—to move objects downwards! When a ramp is placed at different heights, the time it takes for an object to move down the ramp changes. At what angle did the egg move the quickest down the ramp? When the ramp’s angle was steep, the egg made it to the bottom faster than when the ramp’s angle was lower to the ground, right? Do you know why?
There are a few forces that affect the egg’s motion down the ramp. The first is gravity. Gravity is pulling down on the egg and is what allows it to move so quickly to the bottom. The second force is friction. Friction is actually acting against the egg. When the ramp had a lower angle, the negative effect of friction was stronger causing the egg to slow down a bit more than when the ramp was at a higher angle. Because the egg and the ramp both have a smooth outer surface, there was not much friction acting on the egg in this situation. Do you think it would be different if your ramp had been covered in something with a rough surface, such as sandpaper? What if the egg had been a square block rather than a round shape? You can test those theories out if you like by trying different materials and objects on your ramp.