Elevator Pulley: Discovery at Home

What you need:

  • Recycled items.
  • String or yarn.
  • Tape.
  • Scissors.


  1. Create a structure that would lift a bucket or basket and its contents safely from the floor to a table.
  2. The structure needs to be able to be used multiple times.
  3. Start by creating a structure with a rod in the middle of two supports of either side.
  4. Attach the structure to a table.
  5. Make a basket that can hold a small toy using recycled items.
  6. Attach a piece of yarn or string to the basket and set the basket on the floor just below the structure on the table.
  7. Set the other side of the yarn/string over the structure so that when you pull one end of the string down on the other side, it raises the basket up to the table safely.
  8. Test your structure with different weights.

Ways to expand:

  • -Enhance your structure so it can support more weight.
    -Attach the pulley to a wind turbine project to see if you can lift the weight using the wind turbine.

What kids learn:

  • Basic engineering skills. Engineers solve problems with constraints. They learn to solve problems by using the engineering design process: asking questions, coming up with solutions, building, testing and improving.
    Experimentation! When kids experiment, they're learning how to learn. Failure is an important part of experimenting, so let kids try things that won’t work. It’s how they figure things out!


  • Pulley. A wheeled object that has a string or cord passing through it and redirects forces to assist in lifting heavier objects.