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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL less force than lifting them because the force is dis- tributed over a greater distance. The speed at which an object moves down an incline is related to the slope, or steepness, of the incline. Mathematics Content Position, direction, and angle are important geomet- ric concepts that children encounter in this activity. Teachers should model positioning terms (top, middle, side, bottom, above, below, and next to) as children experiment with the inclines. In this way, children learn to pair placement patterns with the appropriate vocabulary. Directional terms, which describe movement patterns, include up, down, across, opposite, left to right, and right to left, although children are not expected to master the latter two in preschool. Finally, teachers can use the inclines to illustrate angles by comparing the slanted line formed by the incline with the horizontal line formed by the bottom of the flannel board frame. Inclined planes are an important component of engineering, particularly in designing and building roads. Photographs of roadways, including over- passes and exit ramps, can be added to the STEM center to help children notice and make connections to inclines they experience in their daily lives. Comments and Questions to Support Inquiry • Let’s put some ramps on this flannel board and see if the balls roll down them. • Oops! your ball missed the bottom ramp. Where can you put the lower incline so that the ball hits it? • Look, your incline doesn’t go straight across like the bottom of the flannel board. It moves down- ward at an angle. Connections to Technology and Engineering The inclined plane is itself an example of technology, since it is one of the six classical simple machines. Teachers may want to take digital photographs of children’s experiments with the ramps. These pho- tographs can be shared with the class in a slide show or PowerPoint display, and children can recollect and share the results of their experiments. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL ST E M lE aR n I ng c E n T E R S 21