Paper Chain Testing

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Learners will do an experiment to determine which type of paper is strongest while focusing on variables and collecting data. They will do this by gathering various types of papers, making chains with them, attaching weights to the end of the chains, and adding weight until the chains break. They will gather data on each type of paper by testing various times and using the averages of the results to determine which type of paper out of the ones they tested is the strongest. The activity includes a time and age recommendation, a materials list, step-by-step set up instructions, tips for adults, learning and skills connections, and a note about doing STEAM with kids.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Several kinds of paper for making chains
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • String
  • Tape
  • Plastic or paper cup
  • Weights (such as pennies, washers, rocks - they should all be the same size and weight)


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process

Informal Categories

  • Science Festivals Activity


Components that are part of this resource:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Boston Children's Museum, 2021