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In this Energy and Environment activity (page 9 of the PDF), learners calculate the mass of a piece of gum, compare it to the mass of the gum's packaging, and then create a bar graph of the results. They explore how packaging can account for a significant amount of a product's mass and price, and learn the importance of reducing packaging. Although this was designed to be a pre-visit activity for a workshop about garbage and recycling, it also makes an excellent stand-alone activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 6-7 unique brands of chewing gum with unique packaging
  • Scale
  • Calculators


  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Human Impact
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center, University of Arizona


  • All rights reserved, COSI Columbus, 2009