Building the Pyramids Inquiry

Lab

Background Info: The pyramids of Giza are made up of 2.3 million blocks of limestone.
Each block had a mass of around 1000 kg. How were the builders able to lift such huge
structures as they built the pyramids? To model this, we will use textbooks as the
blocks to see if we can gain a better understanding.

Main Question
How is the force needed to lift a textbook related to the distance it travels?

Investigations to complete to help answer the main question: Your task is to design,
set-up, conduct, and evaluate experiments that answer the following questions:
1) How much force is needed to lift a science textbook, on top of 3 other science
textbooks if no ramp is used:

19.6 N
2) How much force is needed to lift a science textbook, on top of 3 other science
textbooks if it travels up a short ramp?

9.2 N
3) How much force is needed to lift a science textbook, on top of 3 other science
textbooks if it travels up a long ramp?

6N
4) How much force is needed to lift a science textbook, on top of 3 other science

textbooks if it travels up a long ramp with rollers?

2N
Materials: You will be provided with the following materials to conduct your
experiments:
- 5 textbooks (3 to stack, 1 to pull, 1 to brace the ramp)
- 1 short ramp
- 1 long ramp
- 1 piece of yellow twine
- 1 spring scale
- 1 meterstick
- 1 ruler
- 4 rollers (markers)

Identify the Independent and Dependent Variables.
Independant:
● weight of the book
● amount of rollers
● length of twine
● height of the stack of books
● length of the two ramps
● ramp or no ramp
Dependant:
● amount of Newtons
Describe 4 separate setups (one sentence each)
1.

The 1st setup was the no ramp.

2.

The 2nd setup was the short ramp.

3.

The 3rd setup was the long ramp.

4.

The 4th setup was the long ramp with rollers.

What does each setup look like before you are ready to begin the investigation? Insert a photo or
a drawing of each setup. (example)

LONG RAMP:

WITH NO RAMP:

SHORT RAMP:

Data Collection and Processing: Use the chart below to record the data you collect during the
experiment..

Method Used

distance (m)

Force (N)

Work (J)

lifting

0.13 m

19.2 N

2.5 J

short ramp

0.45 m

9.2 N

4.14 J

long ramp

1.05 m

6N

6.3 J

long ramp with rollers

1.05 m

2N

2.1 J

Data Presentation: Visually display your data with a graph. Discuss with your group what your graph
should look like and the information you want it to convey to the reader.

Conclusion: Write a conclusion that is justified by your data. Your conclusion should use the data
you obtained from your experiment to help answer the main question.
In the end we discovered that the longer the ramp the less newtons it took to move it. If you look
up you can see that when we used no ramp and just lifted it up, it had a large amount of newtons.
On the other hand, when we were using the shorter ramp it had a significant difference. The longer
ramp had another smaller change but a change nonetheless. Finally the long ramp with rollers had
nearly no newtons compared to the other experiments.

Post-Lab Questions: Answer the following questions when you are finished with the lab
1. How did the work done in each of the four scenarios compare?
The longer we made the ramp the less Newtons it took to move the book, and when we added
rollers it took way less Newtons then when we had to lift it up with no ramp.
2. What happened to the force needed as the length of the ramp increases?
The amount of Newtons it took decreased significantly at first, then it slowly decreased.
3. How did rollers (markers) change the amount of force needed to lift the textbook?
The rollers made the amount of Newtons it took to move the textbook decrease.
4. How could the builders of the pyramids have designed their task to use less force than they
would lifting the block straight up? Draw a diagram to support your answer.