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Science Rocks!

Food Elevator


your results

Sent in by:
Katrina of Whitehall, MI and Jonathon of New York

Give your lunch a little lift!

Materials Needed

  • small cooler full of snacks
  • string
  • rope
  • rubber bands
  • scissors
  • duct tape
  • hangers
  • spools
  • paper towel tubes
  • cardboard
  • tree branch about 8 feet from the ground



  1. Check with a grown-up before you get started.
  2. Everybody brings food when they go camping, but not everybody likes to share it with wild animals.
  3. See if you can invent something that will lift a cooler of food into a tree and out of the reach of raccoons and bears using just the above materials.
  4. A helpful hint: try designing a pulley system. A pulley can help you lift your cooler into the tree while you're still standing on the ground.
  5. Once you've found a way to lift your cooler, see if you can improve your design by making the load lighter to lift. The ZOOMers did it using two pulleys. If you come up with a solution that makes your cooler easier to lift, be sure to let us know how you did it!

Ready for a new challenge? Find another problem you can solve using pulleys, like carrying your heavy book bag upstairs. Then, test out your ideas and send them to ZOOM!

Some of your Results

Sabrina, age 10 of Reseda, CA wrote:
Wow! At first I thought it wouldn't work because the last time I wached ZOOM I was... maybe 6... or was it 8... who knows, it was season 4. The point is it's really amazing! My older brother helped me build it. My mom uses it a lot! My dad, too. Thanks a lot! You guys are really creative! I wish I was on ZOOM!

Kimmy, age 9 of Paw Paw, MI wrote:
i went camping and used a medium box awhen I brought cake (well it was strawberry) for my 9th birthday and dident want to have animals eat the pulley part was made of sisal (ooh I dident like that)

Mikayla, age 11 of CA wrote:
my food elevator worked my whole family uses it

Cameryn, age 13 of Houston, TX wrote:
It is so awesome!!! So now I don't have to do the work to bring the food up in my huge treehouse. I don't have to ask my friends to bring it up for me... and they don't even have to ask me now. I love the awesome idea.

Katie, age 9 of Hamilton wrote:
i did not have to get out of my tree house for anything!!!

Steven, age 10 of NY wrote:
The food had come up to me fromthe ground. It was AMAZING.

Natalie, age 13 of Paola, KS wrote:
It was so cool that I showed it to my class and now we do it inice a month. And my teacher said that she would do it very year from now on!!

Karina, age 12 wrote:
I'm in a advanced class so I went all out and well you know went there and made it a perment thing. I made it for my grand parents so that they could get things and have them be taken to them.

Williwen, age 13 of San Diego, CA wrote:
When I did it I can get food and then send it to my treehouse without bring food on one hand and hoding the bar on the other.

Saen, age 8 of Cape Coral, FL wrote:
I pulled on the string and the elevater went up.

Tom, age 5 of DE wrote:
I made food lift up.

Meghan, age 9 of Nova Scotia wrote:
I made a plane on a piece of cleanex what I made was a Food Elevater .I made 2 ropes and took 3 pullies. I put 1 at the top of the tree and tied it on. I took the rope and put it threw. I let that hang down on the other rope. I looped it over the tree and let that hang down to then with the #1 rope I put it under the handle. I took the other one and looped that 1 under 2 when they both met I tied them together. I took the first one and tied 2 pullies on about 5 inces apart. I rapped another one over and tied the top to the tree. I put the rope under the pullie like a 8 when the ropes met I tied them together and tied all the first hanging down and tied them to the container and left the others hang down and pull!

Chanelle, age 8 of Cumberland, RI wrote:
No animals even toke a nibbleout of it! It was wonderful. We wish we would never take it down.

Mary, age 9 of Glenburn, ME wrote:
When me and my sister tried the food elevator we saw on TV it didn't work like we want it it to until the 8th try (I think we did somthing wrong). Well it does work now and its very cool.

Emily, age 11 of Andover, MA wrote:
When I made the food elevator it was really cool! I attached a hook to our tent then got a long rope and wrapped it around the hook twice. The I tied our cooler to one end and pulled the other. Then I used a rock to hold t he rope down to keep the cooler up. Try lifting other things like toys or rocks!

Elena, age 13 of Jacksonville, FL wrote:
I used this idea when I made a cake. I left the house for a few hours and I used the food elevator so my two dogs wouldn't get the cake. I love the food elevator I use it all the time.

not yet implemented