Potato Straw

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In this physics demonstration, learners are challenged to insert a straw the furthest into a potato. After learners explore different techniques, the demonstrator can show them how to hold the straw firmly about 2/3 of the way up and use a sharp thrusting movement. Use this activity to explore force and surface area. This activity guide includes a helpful video that demonstrates each step of the demonstration.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • straws (need to be straight - cut off the bendy bits if there are any)
  • large baking potatoes


  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Institute of Physics,