activity

Take a look at common food packages and then design (and test!) a package of your own.

safety
  • None
difficulty
  • Beginner
time
  • 25+ minutes (depending on how many times you revise your design)

Prepare Ingredients

2-3 per person
Pringles potato chips, saltines, water crackers, or other thin, fragile chips or crackers

Gather (Possible!) Equipment

Cotton balls
Tissue paper
Pipe cleaners
Paper clips
Aluminum foil
Craft sticks
Scrap paper
Cardboard
Brown paper lunch bags
Paper cupcake liners
Plastic wrap
Empty egg carton
String
Cellophane tape
Ruler or tape measure
Masking or painter’s tape
Pencil or pen
Markers
1
 

Today your challenge is to design a new food package! This will be a package for a single potato chip or cracker. Your chip package needs to meet a couple of criteria:

A. Your package must protect the chip from breaking if your package falls onto the floor. You’ll test your design by dropping your package (with a chip inside) onto a hard floor (no carpet) from a height of 4 feet . . . 3 times!

B. Your package must include a way to put the chip into the package and take it out (so you can eat it!). This could be a flap with a closure, a door, or a latch (or anything else you come up with).

You also have a size constraint on your design:

Your package must not be bigger than 6 inches in any direction.

 
2
 

Before you start building, think about other food packages you’ve seen or used in the past. This might help give you inspiration for your package design! Here are a few examples:

 
3
 

Think about what materials you will use for your package. You can use any of the materials in the Gather Equipment section above or any other materials you have around your house (ask an adult’s permission before you take any materials). When you’re choosing materials, think about:

A. Do you want something soft? Flexible? Hard? Thin? Thick?

B. What are different ways you can use a material? For example:

You can roll paper, fold it, cut it, crumple it, and more.

You can use cotton balls as they are, pull them apart, or twist them into different shapes.

 
4
 

Once you have come up with an idea for your package design and decided on what materials you will use, it’s time to build it. Be sure to think about:

A. How will you connect the different parts of your design?

B. How will you get your chip into and out of your design?

C. Make sure the chip will fit inside your design. (HINT: Use a ruler!)

 
5
 

Time to test your package design! First, use a ruler or measuring tape to check that your package isn’t bigger than 6 inches in any direction.

 
6
 

Use a ruler or measuring tape to measure 4 feet above a hard surface—this could be a wood or tile floor or the concrete or asphalt outside. If possible, use a piece of painter’s tape to mark the height. Hold your package at the 4 foot mark and drop it onto the ground. Repeat this 2 more times. (Don’t open your package in between drops.)

 
7
 

Open your package and remove your chip. Is it still in one piece? How easy was it to open your package and remove your chip?

 
8
 

Redesign your chip package to make it even better—then test it again. What will you change?

A. The materials you used?

B. The shape or size of your package?

C. The way you put the chip in and take it out?

 

Food for Thought