Experience the thrills of zip lining while developing engineering and design skills by learning how to make a zipline! The zipline STEM challenge puts a STEM twist on the activity and helps students learn about physics, design, pushes and pulls, braking systems, load-bearing systems, and a whole lot more. This LEGO zipline is one of our favorite LEGO engineering challenges!
STEM educators may soon find that this zipline project is requested over and over, as kids from elementary to middle school have a blast doing this STEM activity!
The zipline STEM challenge is an adventure for tech, engineering, and math-minded kids! It’s an exciting way to learn about physics, engineering, and math!
Students will design and build a zipline that is strong enough and safe enough to transport a small object from one point to another.
This zipline project is perfect for parents, teachers, and students in elementary or middle school.
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What Do Kids Learn in the Zipline STEM Challenge?
Working together to build and design a zipline, participants will gain hands-on experience with the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts to help them solve real-world problems.
The DIY zipline project also enables children to sharpen their problem-solving skills and learn about weight, friction, and momentum.
Use this STEM worksheet to transform your simple LEGO zipline into a full-blown zipline STEM project.
What You Need to Set-Up the LEGO Zipline Challenge
Teachers and STEM educators know all too well—LEGO bricks seem to just disappear, no matter how much you tidy up!
Open-ended STEM challenges, are the perfect way to use up those extra bricks and help kids discover design solutions.
Plus, you don’t have to empty your wallet to stock up: purchasing LEGO bricks in bulk from previous owners is much cheaper than buying new sets and usually includes a wide variety of pieces—perfect for LEGO STEM challenges.
Etsy is my go-to source for these unsorted pounds of bricks, which you can find by clicking the links below.
Engineering Resources for the Classroom
If you are new to teaching STEM, or need a supply refresh, here are my favorite engineering resources for the STEM classroom!
cossy STEM Learning Toy Engineering Construction Building Blocks 208 Pieces Kids Educational Toy for Boys and Girls Ages 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Year Old (208 Pcs)Thames & Kosmos Structural Engineering: Bridges & Skyscrapers | Science & Engineering Kit | Build 20 Models | Learn About Force, Load, Compression, Tension | Parents’ Choice Gold Award WinnerIQ BUILDER | STEM Learning Toys | Creative Construction Engineering | Fun Educational Building Blocks Toy Set for Boys and Girls Ages 5 6 7 8 9 10 Year Old + | Best Toy Gift for Kids | Activity GameEngino Discovering STEM Structures Constructions & Bridges | 9 Working Models | Illustrated Instruction Manual | Theory & Facts | Experimental Activities | STEM Construction KitSmart CircuitsPANLOS Robot STEM Toy Engineering Building Blocks Building Bricks Toy kit – for Boys 6 Years Old or Older Tight Fit and Compatible with All Major Brands 570 PCSSTEM Starters for Kids Engineering Activity Book: Packed with Activities and Engineering FactsMEIGO STEM Toys – Toddlers Educational Construction Engineering Building Blocks Set Best Learning Toy Gift Kit for Kids 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Year Old Boys Girls (110pcs)The Mason Jar Scientist: 30 Jarring STEAM-Based Projects
My Favorite Engineering Books for Kids
These engineering books offer a clear, yet simple look into the basics of engineering and provide endless inspiration for the creation of your own classroom engineering challenges!
- Engineering for Curious Kids
- Awesome Engineering Activities for Kids
- Cardboard Box Engineering Activities
- How to be an Engineer
Useful Engineering Kits and Sets
Sometimes you just want everything you need for a STEM challenge to come in one set! Here are some of my favorite engineering kids for the classroom.
- Mel Science STEM Kits
- Classroom Egg Drop Kit
- Scholastic Instant STEM Activities
- Structure Building Classroom Set
LEGO Zipline Project STEM Extensions
The STEM Zipline Challenge provides the perfect introduction to the STEM world for young learners, fostering a passion and appreciation for the knowledge that will set them on the path to success.
When kids learn how to make a zipline, this project can easily be turned into a STEM activity. Transform your simple DIY zipline into a full-blown STEM activity with these engineering STEM extensions.
Zipline STEM Challenge Science
Zip-lining is much more than a fun outdoor activity — it’s a scientific journey of understanding the forces of nature. When zipping down a line, riders experience lessons in propulsion, friction, and gravity.
Today, zipping is a popular form of tourism, providing breathtaking views and excitement to its riders. But zip lines can also be used for much more — from conducting biological surveys to inspecting large structures.
No matter what their purpose, it’s important for engineers and builders to understand the dynamics of zip-lining before designing and constructing a line.
Factors such as speed, height difference between starting and ending points, and rider safety all have to be taken into account.
With the right design, zip lines can be a safe and exciting way to explore the world around us, which is exactly what students can explore when making a model of a real zipline by designing a LEGO zipline.
LEGO Zipline Challenge Discussion Questions
Here are some discussion questions to ask your students while doing the zipline STEM challenge.
- What else could they be used for?
- What are the forces involved in an object moving down a zip line?
- Where are ziplines used in the real world?
- What factors are important to consider when designing a zipline?
- What can prevent each LEGO zipline from crashing into the other side of the line?
- When designing a real zipline system, what other safety factors do engineers need to consider?
Use our free STEM challenge worksheet when teaching the zipline STEM challenge to keep a record of your process!
More Fun Engineering STEM Challenges
If you can’t get enough of engineering challenges, check out these fun engineering activity ideas that you can do once your zipline project is done!
- Engineering STEM Challenge Bundle
- 5 Fun Hands-On Engineering Kits for Kids
- 20+ Simple Lego Engineering Challenges Kids Can Do Alone!
- Earthquake STEM Challenge
Zipline STEM Challenge Lesson Plan
Below you’ll find specific step-by-step instructions for teaching this zipline STEM challenge in or out of the classroom!
You can also print the instructions to the zipline STEM project so you can access them without an internet connection.