Introduction

Ziplines are a method of transportation consisting of a sturdy cable set between two points on a downward slope. You may have heard of ziplines as a thrilling ride, but they are also used to transport precious cargo from the top of high slopes to the ground using only the force of gravity. This engineering activity explores how factors such as weight distribution, balance and friction affect a zipline vehicle’s performance.

 

Design Challenge

Create a vehicle that can transport a load, such as a passenger or cargo, from the top of a zipline to the bottom using only gravity.

Zipline

Subject

Engineering Design Challenge

Ages

6+

Time

30+ minutes

Key Concepts

Gravity, balance, weight distribution, friction

Come, We Fly! Witch Zipline

Even the Wicked Witch needed a little help flying at first. Make a zipline to help your own little witch or her flying monkeys get across the living room. Bonus points if you can build something sturdy enough to get candy from the Sanderson sisters to trick-or-treaters at least six feet away!

Want a challenge?

JUMP IN!

Imagine scenarios where you might need to deliver an item via zipline.

Want a challenge?

REWARDING & FLEXIBLE

Create a vehicle to transport a passenger, such as a small toy, from one end of a zipline to the other.

Want a challenge?

DESIGN CHALLENGES AHEAD!

For an extra challenge, design a way to release the load, like a trap door. Add a landing zone area at the end of the zipline and see if you can drop the item into it.

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