Skip Navigation

TECH: Land Transportation - Monorail Design - (Class)

Time Frame

2 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups

Life Skills

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication
  • Social & Civic Responsibility




New...pdf. update in December 2011! Students will construct a working model of a monorail and test the results. Students will learn that there may be more than one solution to a problem.


Suggested materials in the bags: 2 balloons (suggested supplier: Loftus Novelty 865 South 200 East, SLC - #646 assorted airship balloons) 2 Rubber bands 1 strip of aluminum foil 2 paper clips 1 pipe cleaner (cut in half) 2 large drinking straws 2 napkins 4 popsicle sticks 1 clothespin Outside the bag - but supplied to the groups is about 24" of electrical tape and a scissor.

Background for Teachers

When students arrive for class, the teacher will need to have the problem solving activity ready. Pieces of monofilament fishing line need to be strung between two walls approximately 25 feet apart (the lines can be stretched after roll call while explaining the days activity). The monofilament line can be fastened with eye hooks to boards in vises of a shop bench or in the wall using plastic anchors and eye hooks. Fishing swivels are tied to each end of the monofilament line to fasten the line to the eye hooks. To help prevent the occasional accidental breaking of the monofilament line small springs can be fastened to the swivel. The springs can then be fastened to the eye hooks. This gives the line additional flexibility, but allows it to remain taught for the activity. Note: The fishing swivel should be small enough to fit into the plastic straws being used in the activity. Place the class into groups of 4 to 6 on the day of the activity. You will need to have a monofilament line run for each group. For a class of 30, this would be six lines. Lines can be wrapped on wooden sewing spools for storage. The images on this document come from a variety of sources. They are either public domain, royalty fee, created by the author, or used by arrangement with the copyright holders. No permission is granted for the copying or re-use of any images used in this document, copyrighted or otherwise. Land Transportation - Monorail Design© Mike Breen - Author of document. USOE has purchased rights to the document which gives individual teachers within the state of Utah rights to print this document for use in their classes.

Student Prior Knowledge

It is suggested that students read the booklet prior to activity.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Practice problem solving skills and explore ways to develop independence and take responsibility. Explore the Transportation technologies used in our world. Use career information to explore various occupations of personal interest. Practice skills to function effectively in a group. Identify school courses that support career interests.

Instructional Procedures


  • MonorailDesign_CoverPage.pdf
    Monorail Design Cover Page that may be used to make booklets for reading as a class
  • MonorailDesign_Student_Pages.pdf
    This curriculum was updated in December 2011. This is the student pages only. The computer can be set to read the pages of the curriculum to the non-reader, struggling reader, or Special Needs Student. The document will need to be saved to the computer. After the file is saved, Open the document in Adobe Reader. To have the computer read the entire document use Shift+Ctrl+B. To read 1 page of the document the shortcut is Shift+Ctrl+V
  • MonorailDesign_Teacher_Resources.pdf
    This is the same file with the addition of detailed teacher resources that are used in this described curriculum. Password information - click on the author's name below. Then click on the curriculum tab.


    Adobe Reader Downloads
  • You Tube
    This is video of traveling 267 mph on the Shanghai Monorail.

Day 1 : 1 day Class reads the booklet with the instructor providing guidance on who reads. Questions on the worksheet are answered with each student working on their own. Each student is able to use a booklet to look up the answers as the booklet is read. Question #10 can not be answered until after the activity so students will not hand in the worksheet yet. Day 2: Instructor has room set up except for lines as students enter the room. Students are given directions on the goals for the day and quickly put in groups. Monofilament line is stretched out and students are given the materials in the bags to work with. Students work on the problem. Day 3: 5 - 10 minutes - Class discussion on the solutions to the problems and the work sheet is turned in with question # 10 answered. The You Tube site I post on my blog. I let the students watch it from there on their own time. It gives you a great idea of 250 miles per hour as you zoom by vehicles on a major traffic roadway.



  • Monorail Society
    Everything about Monorails...
  • Monorail Society Maglev
    This is a link on the Monorail society website that concentrates on maglev. It explains the difference between maglev trains and maglev monorails. They now classify the Shanghai transportation system as a monorail. The page linked takes the viewer to the shanghai information and there are plenty of links to explain other maglev monorail information.

Assessment Plan

Students get two separate grades. They receive one grade for testing their monorail, and another grade for the completed worksheet.


Brusic, S., Fales, J., Kuetemeyer, (1999) Technology Today and Tomorrow (p.24). Peoria: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Engineers, Retrieved November 06, 2011, from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2002-03 Edition, Graphic designers, Retrieved on January 14, 2003, from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2002-03 Edition, Urban and regional planners, Retrieved on January 14, 2003, from Careeronestop, U.S. department of labor, Assemblers & fabricators, all other, America's career infonet, 2010 statistics, Retrieved November 19, 2011 from http://www.careerinfonet. org/occ_rep.asp?next=occ_rep&Level=&optstatus=011110111&jobfam=17&id=1&nodeid=2 &soccode=172051&stfips=49&x=34&y=9 Harms, H., Swernosfsky, N. (1999). Technology interactions (pp. 207 -213) Peoria, IL: Glencoe/MacGraw-Hill. Knight, W. (December 6, 2002). First passenger maglev train set for lift-off. New, 16:01, Retrieved March 9, 2003 from Minnesota Historical Society, Timepieces Monorail plans, 1888 Monorail Plans, [Photograph] Retrieved on December 15, 2002, from Monorail Society, Definition of monorail, Retrieved on March 18, 2001, from Monorail Society, How much does monorail cost?, Retrieved on March 18, 2001, from Monorail Society, Monorails in history-Part I, Retrieved on March 9, 2003, from Monorail Society, Monorails...they're not just for theme parks and zoos!, Retrieved on March 18, 2001, from Transport of Delight, Disney Monorails, Disneyland Los Angeles 1985, [Photograph] Retrieved on December 11, 2002, from Monorails/Monorail%20-%202.jpg Stroh, M. (2003, April). Speed vs. need. Popular Science, 42. Utah Vocational Core Curriculum. (1986). Monorail design. Salt Lake City: Utah State Office of Education Utah Vocational Core Curriculum. (1992). Monorail design. Salt Lake City: Utah State Office of Education Wang J. S., (2003). Wangjianshuo's Blog, Pudong Airport Maglev in Depth, shanghai-maglev-on.other.side, [Photograph] Retrieved on February 13, 2006, from 20030809_pudong_airport_maglev_in_depth.htm

Created: 03/26/2003
Updated: 03/31/2021