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This activity opens with an animated picture of an access ramp over a three-step staircase, with steps 7 inches high and 10 inches wide. Students are asked to determine how far away the ramp should start in order to go up the steps. The activity, part of the Figure This! collection of 80 math challenges emphasizing math in the real world, explains how slope, or the measurement of steepness, is important to civil engineers, landscapers, and surveyors. The hint states that ramps usually go up 1 vertical inch for every 12 horizontal inches. Students are encouraged to draw the set of steps and calculate the total height. With this height and the hint, they can find the distance for the ramp. Related questions ask students to use slope to estimate the grade of a ski hill and the path of a glider. Answers to all questions and links to resources are included. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
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