Which material makes the best dress up pirate sword?

This is a great themed activity for starting to learn about properties of materials and good experimental design.

First we made 3 different pirate swords. You could use any materials you want, but we used thin cardboard, a cardboard tube and a balloon

how to make a pirate sword





Modelling Balloons


Hold the swords, which do you think will be the strongest? Can you make a hypothesis?

Decide how to test your swords ( be careful ) what do you need to keep constant in your testing?

We decided to bang the swords on an empty cardboard box and observe the changes in the swords.

how to make a pirate sword

Variables to keep constant

Person holding the sword

Force used to hit the empty box

What do you notice? Was your hypothesis correct?

how to make a pirate sword

We found the cardboard tube made the best sword from a strength point of view, it didn’t bend or break like the other two.

However, we also concluded that the balloon made the best pretend play sword as it didn’t break on impact, but also wouldn’t hurt anyone else.

Can you think of any other materials we could’ve used?

Video of how to make a balloon sword coming soon!

Suitable for Early Learning Goal 16

Exploring and using media and materials

They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

which material makes the best pirate sword


There are 3 comments

  1. Sarah

    I adore pirates, so for that reason alone I think this is a great idea! Materials science is a very interesting topic for kids. I do a unit on it with my third graders. Although I don’t know as I can test swords at school, this will inspire me to consider experiments like this. We’ve thought about materials for pencils, houses and sneakers. I like the idea of something more fun that they can develop a test for.
    Thanks for the ideas!

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