The holiday season is here, which means it is all Christmas, all the time. But just because it is Christmas doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. Really, it’s just inspired me to come up with some holiday themed STEM challenges for the kids this season! For this Christmas wrapping paper strength test, we wanted to know which wrapping paper is the strongest and would hold up to the rigors of travel and shaking.
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The test we came up with was simple, but the kids loved it! That’s my favorite part about STEM challenges. They don’t have to be elaborate and complicated. Really, as moms, we just need to give our kids the opportunity and they really make the experiment their own!
Christmas Wrapping Paper Strength Test STEM Challenge
What You Need for the Wrapping Paper Strength Test
This STEM challenge is pretty simple, and it can be done with items you have on hand! All you need is a few mason jars, some coins, and a few different kinds of wrapping paper!
We had a foil paper, a thick wrapping paper, and a thin paper on hand, so that is what we used for our test.
How to set up the wrapping paper strength test:
Cut a circle from the paper a little larger than your jar lids. Tape the wrapping paper circles over the jar openings.
Instruct the kids to stack coins on the paper until the coins fall into the jar. The kids love the sound of the coins as they fall into the glass jar. The sound was motivating for my kids.
Because nothing happened in our first test, we ended up doing two strength tests.
Wrapping Paper Strength Test 1: Dry Paper
We stacked coins over the lid of our mason jars. My preschooler added the same number of coins to each paper. She kept adding more and more coins until the surface area of the jars couldn’t hold any coins.
Still, the paper didn’t break.
I guess we had some sort of super-strong wrapping paper, because there must have been nearly a pound of weight on each jar. I guess shopping at Target for wrapping paper is the way to go if you want strong paper.
Wrapping Paper Strength Test 2: Wet Paper
Because our dry paper didn’t break, we decided to moisten the paper to see if that would weaken it. We added a few drops of water to the bottom of each sheet of wrapping paper.
After adding one quarter, the foil paper broke right away. I have no idea why it was so weak while wet!
The thin candy cane paper broke next. It took about a handful of coins to break that paper.
The snowflake paper, which was the thickest to begin with, broke last. It took about two handfuls of coins to break through the surface and into the jar.
I was surprised myself, because I really thought the foil paper would have lasted the longest.
Maybe you’ll get a different result when you conduct your own wrapping paper strength test!
What is your favorite festive STEM challenge?
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