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Design a Parachute

Source Institutions

    Center for Engineering Educational Outreach, Tufts University

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Design a Parachute

After a discussion about what a parachute is and how it works, learners create parachutes using different materials that they think will work best. They test their designs, and then contribute to a class discussion (and possible journal writing) to report which paper materials worked best. Activity includes links to recommended resources, investigating questions to stimulate discussion, and suggestions for assessment and extensions.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • tissue paper
  • napkins
  • construction paper
  • newspaper
  • paper towels
  • string
  • tape
  • weights (such as washers)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Projectile Motion
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

Includes assesments for student learning

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Center for Engineering Educational Outreach, Tufts University

Source Collection:

  • TeachEngineering


  • All Rights Reserved, Regents of the University of Colorado, ©2013