Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kids Science: Toilet Paper Comparisons!

We go through TONS of toilet paper around here.  (Ehh- TMI?  Probably.)  But I don't mind because that means we have a constant stash for our toilet paper roll crafts.  Recently, hubby received a couple free rolls of Charmin toilet paper to try out.  The packaging claimed that it was "ultra strong."  But... was it really?  I wondered how it would compare against other brands. And of course, we had to find out.  So we did this toilet paper science activity together as a family.

(Hmm... how does that saying go... the family that plays with toilet paper together... stays together?  Hee hee hee )

Toilet Paper Roll Science Activity

(Let's compare rolls.  Which one is the best?)

Preschool STEM Science Activity- toilet paper science

We took a very scientific approach to this and compared 3 rolls of toilet paper (Generic 2-ply, Charmin 2-ply, and Generic 1-ply) in 4 different categories.  I figured that a great roll of toilet paper should be soft, soluble, strong, and absorbent.

Although I designed the science activity, Chuck had an important roll to play.  We told him that he was going to be a scientist and help us to run an experiment.  Although I'm not sure he understood what was happening all the time, he was still a great lab tech and helped us to touch, mix, stir, and drop different things.

Alrighty toilet paper scientists, let's see how the 3 toilet rolls fared!

Kids Science Activity- comparing toilet paper

First we tested the softness of each of the sheets.  (This is very important!)  To do this, we ripped off two sheets of toilet paper from each roll and lay them side-by-side.  Then, we touched each one and used the words "soft" and "rough" to describe them.  We rated them and then I recorded our findings in a chart.

Preschool Science- Testing toilet paper solubility

Next, we tested the toilet paper's solubility.  (You don't want your toilet paper to clog your pipes!)  To do this, we dropped a sheet of toilet paper into 2 cups of water and stirred.  (Yup.  This was Chuck's favorite part.)  Then, we timed how long it took before the paper broke down.  We did this for each of the three rolls and recorded the times!

preschool science strength activity- toilet paper

Next we tested the strength of each roll.  (You need strong toilet paper that won't break on you during an inopportune time!)  To do this, I taped a 2 sheet piece of toilet paper over a cup.  Then, we used a dropper to drop water over the toilet paper.  Then, we added pennies one by one onto the toilet paper until it broke.   We repeated this process for all three rolls and recorded how many pennies each brand could hold in our chart.

Preschool Science- Test the Absorbency of toilet paper

And lastly, we tested absorbency.  (Again, another super important quality for toilet paper to have.)  To do this we used a dropper to drop of certain amount of water into a pie pan.  Then, we dropped sheets of toilet paper into the pie pan one at a time to see how many sheets we needed to absorb the liquid.  Again, we repeated this process for all three rolls and recorded our findings.

Our findings:

Which roll was the best?  

Drum roll please.

Charmin 2-ply and our generic 2-ply were tied for best toilet paper! (Are you surprised?  I was.)    The generic 2-ply was softer and dissolved quicker than Charmin.  However, Charmin was the strongest (holding 14 pennies- wow!) and most absorbent.  The 1-ply toilet paper was roughest, most soluble, not very strong, and not very absorbent.  (Of course, this totally makes sense because it's just 1-ply.)  

This would certainly be a fun science activity to try out with the kids!  It's got the fun potty element, and a lot of good science potential too!  The comparisons are easy to understand, there's a lot of hands-on elements involved, AND there's room for lots of discussion too!

Looking for other fun kids science + STEM activities?

Let's keep in Contact!

Like this idea?  You can always find other fun ideas on my Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts!  Or, just sign up for the weekly newsletter in the pink bar at the top of the site.

Happy exploring, friends!