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Oh! My Aching Back! How Ramps Make Lifting Easier

Experiment #4 from Investigating Force

Education Level
Elementary School


Is your backpack heavy? Have you ever tried to find ways to help you move it around more easily? Force is a measure of how hard you have to work to move something. In this activity, you will compare the force needed to lift your backpack straight off the ground to the force needed to pull the backpack up a ramp.


  • Lift your backpack to a chair in two different ways.
  • Measure the force needed for each way of lifting.
  • Make observations.
  • Think of ways ramps are used to help people move things more easily.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #4 of Investigating Force. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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