Engineering design challenge: Package parachute

Engineers and geoscientists play an important part in protecting the public, including designing items to be used in natural disasters. There can be times when first responders cannot reach people by land to deliver food, water, or medicine, and instead they need to drop it from the air. Engineers design the package delivery systems to make sure that things arrive safely and aren’t damaged in the process. They have to think about forces like gravity, wind, air resistance, and drag.

Your mission

Create a parachute that will safely deliver a package from a height of 2 metres. Your package should have an open top and land upright without having the contents spill out.


You should use objects you can find around the house to create your parachute (some examples are below).

We recommend that the distance between the parachute and your cup or box is no longer than 20 cm. The contents of your package should be light, like a ping pong ball or marshmallow.

Example materials

You can use these or any other materials you find around your house to work with:

  • Paper cup
  • Cardboard
  • Straws
  • Elastics
  • String
  • Plastic bags
  • Scrap Fabric
  • Tape

Share some pictures of your creation online using the #NEM2021 or #NEGM2021 hashtag!