Take a look at common food packages and then design (and test!) a package of your own.
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.
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:
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:
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!)
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.
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.)
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?
Keeping a delicate chip intact after big drops is not the only thing you can design a package for. Here are some other ideas:
Can you design a waterproof package for a chip? What kinds of materials would help repel water? Test your design by using a spray bottle filled with water to spray the package 5 times. Wait 5 minutes before you open your package. Is your chip dry or soggy?
Try designing a package to keep an ice cube from melting (instead of a chip from breaking). What materials will help insulate (slow heat from getting into) your package? Test out your design by placing an ice cube inside and leaving it out on the counter for 10 minutes: How much did the ice cube melt? If you want to be even more precise, weigh your ice cube before and after!
The next time you go to the grocery store or supermarket, take a closer look at all the different types of food packages. What do the different packages do? Can you find packages that keep food fresh? How about packages that help you dispense just the right amount of an ingredient? Packages designed to help you eat out of them? What else do you see?