What’s the best material for a Christmas paper chain?

We’ve been making lots of paper chains recently, and have found that some are stronger then others depending on the material used, so we set about devising an experiment to find the material best suited to making paper chains.


Planning the experiment


Materials to make the paper chains with – tissue paper, parcel paper, cardboard, foil, gift wrap

How to test?

Gently pull on the chain till it breaks, recording the force needed to break the chain

Which factors do we need to keep constant?

Size of chain

Amount of sellotape used

Amount of overlap of each segment

Size of individual segments

Person testing

Possible causes of errors

Hard to record the force used to break the chains.

Properties of a good paper chain

Bends easily


Looks good.


This activity is great for:

Key stage 1 Design and Technology

Improving skills, knowledge and understanding of an iterative design process.


Allowing children to design a purposeful, functional and appealing product for themselves and others.

Generating and developing ideas


Selecting appropriate tools and equipment.


Exploring and evaluating existing products and using features of those in their design.

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