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Jessi and Squeaks brought home a whole bunch of books! But they aren't quite sure how to get them up the stairs into the house. Join them as they learn about ramps and how these simple machines help us with our work!
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We just came back from a big book sale at the library! And we have two big boxes full of new books for our reading room! I can’t wait to get started on my summer reading! But first, Squeaks and I have a lot of stuff to carry. The problem is, these boxes are too heavy for me or Squeaks to lift. Books are heavy! And if we can’t lift them, we can’t carry them up the steps to get inside. So, what can we do?

Well...we could ask someone to help. But these boxes are SO heavy, we probably won’t be able to lift them even if we work together! Or... Squeaks and I could carry just a few things in at a time. That might work. But it would take many trips up and down the stairs, which would take a lot of time! I know! I can use a some kind of a machine to help make our job easier. And I’ve got the perfect one in mind... A ramp!
A ramp is just something that’s long and flat, with one end that’s higher than the other end. It looks a lot like a slide on a playground! Some ramps are really steep, and some are pretty flat. When we talk about how steep a ramp is, we call that the slope. So this ramp has a steep slope... and this ramp has a slope that’s less steep.

You’re right, Squeaks! A ramp doesn’t look much like other machines we might have, like washing machines or lawn mowers. But scientists say that a machine is really just anything that helps us do work. And since a ramp helps us work, that makes it a machine! And these kinds of machines that don’t have many moving parts -- or none at all, like a ramp -- are often called simple machines. Ramps make it easier to move things from a high place to a low place...or the other way around. All we have to do is to push or pull something on the ramp, either up or down...and our work is done!   So, let’s see how a ramp can make the work of moving these books into our house a lot easier! We already said that the boxes of books were too heavy for me to carry up the steps. So Squeaks and I will put a ramp over the steps. The slope of this ramp is a little steep, but it reaches all the way from the bottom of the steps to the top. So if we put a box on the ramp, and push... Wow! He did it! Nice job, Squeaks!

Squeaks had to push really hard, but he got the box up the steps. Alright! One box down, and one box to go. What changes do you think we could make to our ramp to make Squeaks’ job easier? Should we make the slope of the ramp steeper? Or should we make it less steep?

Let’s try using a different ramp -- one that’s longer. This way, we can put the low end of the ramp farther away from the high end. Can you tell the difference? This ramp has a smaller slope than the first one we used. Welp, Let’s see if it helps! Ready Squeaks? One... two... three... push! Yes! Right up the ramp and into the house! Squeaks had to push the box a little farther to get the box up the ramp, but he didn’t have to push nearly as hard.

When you think about it, using a ramp is kind of like walking up a big, steep hill. It’s harder to walk up a big hill if you walk straight up. But if you take a longer path that’s less steep, you’ll have to walk a longer distance, but it won’t be nearly as hard. In the same way, it’s harder to push something up a ramp with a steep slope than one that’s not as steep.

Ramps are all around you! They help us to move things into and out of trucks, move cars and and off of highways, and they let shopping carts, wheelchairs -- or robotic rats -- get on and off sidewalks. And ramps are only one kind of simple machine. We’ll explore other kinds of machines soon! But, right now, I’m ready to get started on one of my new books!

Thanks for joining us on SciShow Kids and I’d like to give a big thank you to Google Making Science for helping us make this episode! If you’ve got a question for Squeaks or me, ask a grownup for help, and leave us a comment below, or send us an email at!