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Taking a Zipline to School

Sensemaking Lesson from The Tech Interactive

Taking a Zipline to School

Is Lesson Plan Elementary

Sensemaking Checklist

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, learners experience the phenomenon of ziplines transporting Columbian students to school. Students recognize a problem to solve: “How do you slow the zipline cart’s descent to keep it from crashing into the pole on the downhill end of the zipline?” Students engage in practices to apply science ideas (forces) and engineering ideas (criteria and constraints) to design a tool, system, or process that slows the cart to help ensure students’ safe arrival at school.


Materials and Preparation


  • Chart paper (2 pieces)
  • Markers (2-3)
  • Devise to project videos
  • Zipline Project packets* (1 per student)

*pages 11-15 of the Taking a Zipline to School lesson plan


Building Materials

Look for items that match the categories; see the suggestions below for ideas. Try to provide several different types of items for each category. Keep in mind that devices may fall from a height, so materials should be durable.

List of Structural Pieces and Tools


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