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Driving Question: 

Does the slope of our ramp meet U.S. federal law guidelines?

Grade 8
In a hands-on application of the math concept of slope, students use their knowledge of the formula of slop to determine whether or not a ramp in the school meets guidelines set out by the United States on the safety of wheelchair ramps. Students learn content from the teacher and then measure the ramp to determine its rise over run in a real world situation. Students then discuss in person and on a virtual discussion board about the ramp in their school and whether or not it meets guidelines and whether or not these guidelines need to be in place.
Student Reflection

" If ramps are too steep, handicapped people (especially ones in wheelchairs) might not be able to wheel themselves up the steep slope when going up the ramp, and might not be able to control themselves from descending too fast and possibly suffering a bad fall, unable to stop, while going down. The U.S. government has laws to ensure the safety of these handicapped people." - Alina

"The US government created laws and guidelines regarding the slopes because of individuals safety. If the slopes are too steep, people with difficulties might not have the ability to stop, which could lead to serious injuries."  - Osmond

"The US Government most likely has laws about the slope of handicapped ramps because if the slope of the ramp is too steep, then the speed of the wheelchair would go down the ramp too fast, which would be a danger to both the person on the wheelchair and other people passing by. To stop this event from happening, there should be a limit to the slope of the ramp so that the wheelchairs can either move slowly or control how they are going." - James

"If the ramp is too steep it will be hard for the person who is pushing the chair to move it up. Another reason why I think that it can't be higher is that the person on the chair could fall off if the slope is too steep when they are going down the ramp. This might also cause the person pushing the chair to lose control over it." - Nick

Student Products
  • Learn about the skills and concepts of slope
  • Measure ramp in the school
  • Discuss and justify answer to the driving question. 
Teacher Reflection

"Students were given the opportunity to view an authentic problem using their choice of mathematical tools. Each student saw the problem in a different way, and there was no one right way to solve the problem." Hank Classen

" What made it interesting was that it was open-ended. You can change the units of measurement, which is part of the Common Core making flexible measurements, you could get to see them as thinkers...One of the extensions I like to do is have them think about the ramp and if it is too steep for people in wheelchair. I'd like to have them do more with the construction of ramps." - Misti McDaniel


Misti McDaniel

Hank Claassen