Christmas wrapping paper tubes + fun jingle bells = awesome STEM activity that your kids can do over and over and over...
I love STEM activities and science investigations that take less than 30 seconds to prepare, but keep the kiddos engaged for 30 minutes (or more!): I love that they are learning and growing and developing more neural connections at their own pace, I love that they are excited and engaged in the learning process, and I love that it took practically no effort on my part! (Click here to learn more about how kids learn.)
These wrapping paper bell races use qualitative physics and math concepts to complete the challenges. Even high school kiddos could use these same activities to accompany calculations of speed, velocity, time, potential energy, kinetic energy, and more! You can even discuss forms of energy (especially potential, mechanical, sound, and heat) with elementary kiddos!
The concept is simple: you just drop the bell (or use a ball or marble if you're not into the constant jingling!) into the top of the wrapping paper tube and watch it come out the bottom. It becomes more fun when you add the STEM Challenges:
1- What is the farthest distance you can get the bell to travel after it falls out of the bottom of the tube? (Use a ruler or tape measure!)
2- What is the slowest you can get the bell out of the tube? (Use a timer!)
3- Can you make the bell fall silently? (Use whatever you can find!)
My daughter added an additional challenge:
4- What is the most beautiful set up you can make?
We started out just dropping the bells in the Christmas wrapping paper tubes, and measuring and timing the results.
Then things started to get more interesting. The kids decided they would get better results with a longer, steeper tube.
In the end, this set up won the "Best Tunnel Award" for throwing the bells the fathest distance:
And this won the "Most Beautiful Design Award:"
The best part about this project is that it appeals to so many ages. There really is something for everyone--I think that is typical of a lot of STEM projects.
Here is a quick breakdown of some of the STEM subjects it incorporates:
SCIENCE: problem solving, scientific method, predicting, testing, and analyzing, types of energy, simple machines
TECHNOLOGY: using stopwatches
ENGINEERING: building and designing the most efficient tunnels
MATH: measuring distance and time
This week I am joining my friend Sarah from Little Bins With Little Hands to bring you loads of fun STEM activities you can do with Christmas supplies like wrapping paper, tape, and ribbons! Check out our collection here!
I may share at any of these parties!
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