Hands-on science activities are fun for kids and promote exploration and discovery. Here are two ways to use coffee filters for experiments with weights, measuring and counting.
Heather from Preschool Toolkit is setting us up today for some easy science fun!
Experiments with Weights and Measures: Easy Science Fun for Kids!
Just how much weight can a coffee filter hold? Here are two experiments for you and your helpers to test the strength of the paper.
Materials: coffee filters, chenille stems, medium size rock, hole punch, clothespins, and a small spray bottle.
Experiment 1: Which has the most strength – wet or dry paper
Make two holes in a coffee filter, one on each side. Loop the ends of a chenille stem through the holes to make a handle as shown. Place a rock in the coffee filter and lift it with the handle. The rock lifts easily.
Thoroughly wet the coffee filter with water using the spray bottle. Allow to sit for a few seconds.
Lift up with the handle. The wet paper cannot support the weight of the rock so the handle pulls through the paper.
Experiment 2: How many clothespins can the coffee filter hold?
Make a handle as shown with two chenille stems instead of one. We tried it with one chenille stem and the clothespins kept slipping out, as it was difficult to maintain balance. You may want to use both methods – try lifting with one chenille stem and then with two – as part of the learning process.
Lift the coffee filter with the handle to form a paper tray and begin adding clothespins. Count the number of clothespins the paper tray can hold before the chenille stems pull through.
This filter actually held 40 large clothespins before one of the green chenille stems pulled through the paper.
Small Group Time
Here are some additional ideas for small group time if you’re in a homeschool or school setting.
- Before you begin, make predictions about the coffee filter’s ability to lift the rock when it is dry and when it is wet.
- After the experiment, discuss what might have happened to weaken the paper so it no longer lifted the rock.
- Choose different rocks to put in the coffee filter. Can you find one that is too heavy for the paper to hold when dry?
- Weigh the rock(s) on a scale.
- Experiment with other types of paper such as newspaper or construction paper, or layer two or more coffee filters together at a time.
- Before you begin, make predictions about how many clothespins the coffee filter can hold.
- After the experiment, discuss what might have happened to the paper when it no longer held the clothespins.
- Compare the weight of the rock from the first experiment with the weight of the number of clothespins the paper supported.
Heather started blogging on Preschool Toolkit to share her exciting hands-on experiences for early learners. Previously, she owned and operated a licensed preschool facility for over 16 years, teaching children 3 -5 years of age. Visit her for even more preschool fun!