**Learning Outcomes**

Students will be able to

- list two or more instances of slope in everyday life
- name a career that involves working with slope
- define slope as height/length
- identify the steeper of two slopes

**Common Core State Standards:** 8.EE.B.5, 8.F.A.2, 8.F.A.3

**Vocabulary**: Slope

**Materials**: Per group of three to four students: Two cereal boxes, “slide rider” (toilet-paper tube), tape, watch/timer, ruler/yardstick, scissors

**Procedure**

**1. Introduction (5 minutes, whole group)**

To motivate building a slide and elicit everyday terms for slope, ask about students’ experiences on playground slides. For example, ask, How can you tell by looking if a diagonal slide will give a fast or slow ride? Note how students describe slope (e.g., steep, slanted) so that you can later connect it to a correct definition.

**2. Slope in slides (15 minutes, small groups)**

Distribute materials to each group of three to four students. Ask students to build a slide that takes their “slide rider” 3 seconds to roll down. As students work, circulate to ask questions that highlight the impact of slope on the ride. For example, ask, What makes your slide steep? How can you make the slide slower? In real life, would your slide be dangerous? Why?

If time permits, have groups demonstrate and explain how they adjusted height and length to get the ride to 3 seconds.

Next, define *slope* as the slide height divided by its distance along the floor. Connect it to everyday words that you heard students use (e.g., This slope is a gradual incline). Ask students to do several calculations using numbers that they can easily divide: What’s the slope of a slide 2 feet high and 20 feet long? Would that make a fast or slow slide? What about a slide 1 foot long and 10 feet high? Which would be steeper?

Extension: Ask students to record the height and length of their slides. You can use this data in a future lesson exploring slope as proportion (graphing height vs. length for each slide).

**3. Slope in construction (10 minutes, whole group)**

Show students the video, which demonstrates another application of slope: house construction.

Connect the concept of slope and speed in the video with what students learned constructing their slides. Ask, Why do builders use steep slopes for roofs? For pipes? What happened when your slides were steep? Where else do we see slope in the real world (e.g., hills, ramps)? For each of these, ask, Which feature is the height? Which is the length?

**4. Conclusion (5 minutes, whole group)**

Discuss the purpose of slope in different contexts. For example, when you’re skateboarding, riding a bicycle, or pushing a cart or stroller, when would you want a steep slope? A gradual slope?

Then, discuss slope as height/length. For example, if you have a piece of cardboard 3 feet long, how high would you need to lift one end to make a very steep slope? A gradual slope? To provide extra practice, have students use cardboard and rulers/yardsticks to find answers.

**Activity Extension:** Have students suggest possible heights and lengths of a ramp with slope 2 (e.g., 6 inches high, 3 inches long; 10 feet high, 5 feet long).

*This activity is based on work developed at TERC.*