• Pringles Rules

    Posted by Krista Rodrigues on 10/7/2013

    Pringles Mailing Challenge



    1.       Students will use 1 (regular) Pringles Potato Chip.


    2.       No substance may be applied to the chip, or the chip altered in any way.


    3.       The chip must be recoverable and edible (but please don’t eat it!) when received

    by the family member.


    4.       Students will work individually (with minimal assistance from others) to design

    and test the package.


    5.       Students must provide materials and postage. 


    6.       No pre-made Pringles or any type of pre-made containers should be used (i.e.

    specially designed Pringles containers for lunch boxes, Pringles can, etc.)


    7.       No pre-made padded envelopes – student may use bubble wrap and an envelope and build a padded mailer for example. (Remember this is a design challenge, not a “shopping” challenge.


    8.       All packages must be sent via the US Postal Service – First Class Mail. Packages

    sent using any other carrier will be disqualified.


    9.       There is a 3” x 5” minimum limit on the size of the package, and a fussy

    postman may reject a smaller package. (However, in the past, many packages

    smaller than 3” x 5” have been delivered, so getting a small package through the

    mail is part of the challenge).


    10.   Package must be clearly labeled on the outside with your name and return address. If special

    unpacking instructions are needed they should also be included.


    11.   Each of your family members receiving the package must have an email address

    you can provide to Mrs. Rodrigues for verification.


    12.   You must send a letter/email explaining the project and the responsibility of the recipient.


    13.   You may send opening instructions either with the package or separately. Include a copy of any opening instructions in your finished presentation project.


    14.   You may write only “Fragile” or “Handle With Care” on the package in addition to return address and mailing address.


    15.   It is your responsibility to assure the package is sent in a timely manner and that

    it is received by your family member/ friend  before the assignment is due.

    Comments (-1)
  • Pringles Grading Criteria

    Posted by Krista Rodrigues on 10/7/2013

    Project #1: Package the Pringle Challenge



    Students will design and test a package to safely ship a single Pringles Potato Chip through the US Postal Service to a family member (not in Washington State). Upon arrival, the chips will be evaluated and scored according to the process described below.


    All Design and Construction will be done outside of regular school hours. SEE RULES


     Limited class time will be given for work on the presentation – Powerpoint etc.



    To engineer the package to have the smallest mass and volume, while protecting the chip so it arrives at its destination undamaged.



    Three measurements must be collected in order to score a package for the Pringles Challenge.

    1. Mass - -measured in kg to at least the thousandths place (to the gram)

    2. Volume – measured in cubic centimeters to at least the hundredths place

    3. Intact-ness of the chip as determined by the evaluating person/family, according

    to the rubric.


    Measuring Mass:

    All packages must be weighed using a digital food scale or mail scale. If measuring outside of school, proof of the weight must be supplied – photo of package on scale, or receipt for the package showing weight from the post office. If you cannot measure outside of school, student must make arrangements to use the scale at school – outside of classes. Students must pre-arrange with the office or Mrs. Rodrigues to use the scale –day and time.


    Measuring / Calculating Volume:

    Below find the formulas for the volume of a rectangular solid, a triangular solid and a cylinder. If your mailer is an irregular shape, you should estimate whether it is closer to a rectangular solid, a triangular solid or a cylinder and use that formula.


     Note: an irregular shape may cost more to mail with USPS – be sure to check with the post office.


    Rectangular Solid:

    Length x width x height


    Triangular Solid:

    (½ base x height) x overall height


    (pi)r2 x height


    Overall Score:

    The overall score of the package will be used to compare packages. The formula for calculating the overall score will be as follows:


    Overall score = Intactness Score / (Mass in kg x Volume in cc)


    (a) A perfect chip = Intactness of 100

    (b) Mass = 256 grams or 0.256 kg

    (c) Volume = 250 cc (2.5 x 10 ^2)


    Overall score = (100 / (.256 x 250)) = 100 / 64 = 1.56 (when rounded to 3 significant figures)



    Write-Up/Report and Share:

    You will be asked to share what you’ve made and see what other students have built after the due date. Your final due date MAY 15. Your package must be received and its status reported by before this date. You will be required to present your project that day either in a Powerpoint, Keynote, Google doc or Prezi type slide show. 

    Must have pictures of your project and written descriptions. 

    ·         Letter  or email to recipient detailing the project and the scoring responsibility. 

    ·         materials,

    ·         design and building process,

    ·         completed package,

    ·         documented weight (mass)

    ·         documented volume

    ·         received package and

    ·         picture of the contents and conditions of the chip. .



    Student: Complete the mass and volume section of this rubric before sending your package in the mail. You will

    need to submit the information in your presentation.


    YOU MUST SEND THE FOLLOWING TO THE RECIPEINT – either in the package or via email.


    Scorer (Recipient of the chip): Complete this rubric and return it to the student via email or mail. Please also email a copy:



    Mrs. Rodrigues (Science) 

    Davenport Middle School,

    601 Washington St.

    Davenport, WA 99122.


    Please take photos of the package when you receive it and photos of its contents. It will be very helpful for the student to see the results of his/her packaging and the condition of the chip. Photos can be sent, emailed or both. The due date for the student’s final presentation is May 15. Please report the status by that date.


    Date package was received:

    Describe any damage to the package:




    Perfectly Intact Like it just left the factory

    100 points

    Slightly Damaged Cracked, but still in one piece

    50 points

    Chipped Chip Broken along the edges, but less than 5 pieces

    20 points

    Split Chip The chip is broken into two fairly equal pieces

    20 points

    Significantly Damaged Chipped and/or cracked into less than 20 pieces

    10 points

    Pringle Dust Too many pieces to count (more than 20)

    5 point


    Comments (-1)
  • Assignment details

    Posted by Krista Rodrigues on 4/19/2013
    This is a page hopefully to give some answers to students and parents about the Pringles Package Challenge assigned a couple days ago.  The final due date is October 31
    Student - you have your assignment, but still have questions.
    Parent - you have heard about it and wonder what it is and why we are doing this.  
    Hopefully I have answered here as I would if we were speaking to each other.  
    What is it?
    The Pringles package challenge is an activity that many middle schools around the country use in their Science programs.  For some, it is a required activity for all students over the summer or during the school year.  For others schools it is an activity used by their exploratory science/engineering classes at the middle school level.  If you Google it, you will see a variety of plans and groups using it.   I had the opportunity to meet with staff from a "STEM/STEAM" school in the Seattle area.  This was one of their favorite activities. 
    STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math.  STEAM - adds Art
    I used the guidelines from the following link  with minor clarifications
    The goal is for the student to DESIGN, TEST and MODIFY and have a finished package to be sent through the US Postal service.  The package is designed to send one Pringles chip with the minimum amount of damage.  Points are awarded for smaller, lighter packages.
    I have given each student the description of the challenge, the rules, and a calendar to help plan. 
    What is the point - why are we doing this?   What does this have to do with Science?
    Science is all about answering questions through inquiry.  Technology is all about using science and human ingenuity to solve a human need.
    DESIGN, MODIFY and TEST  is a simplification of the Scientific Method.   Scientists design experiments to test ideas. Depending on the outcome of the test, they modify the experiment and test again. 
    The science here requires some physics and math.  Students are using SI measurements of kg, g for mass (weight) and using cubic cm for volume. Students will also have to successfully calculate their mass and volume and divide decimals using three significant figures in calculating their overall chip score.  Intact score divided by the (mass * volume)
    The physics is understanding the basic conditions that packages must undergo. A drop and toss test for example.  How are these packages handled on a regular basis? What materials cushion the best?  What is shock?  How would I prevent compression?  These are questions food company packaging designers ask all the time. The designers also have to make their packaging withstand temperature swings and still be attractive on the shelf.    All of our food and products must arrive safely to us, shipped from around the world - in the most economical ways.
    This activity also addresses the sustainability issue presented in our Science education. How can we reuse materials?  How can we reduce/recycle what we use?
    There is a push in education the past few years to do more hands on activities.  Kids learn more, remember more and apply it to life when it is a hands on activity. While we may not ever have to send a potato chip through the mail, we certain do have to mail packages occasionally with the intention that the contents arrive in the condition we want. 
    The scientific process requires student to observe, test, modify and retest. The students must be problem solvers.  Instead of paper and pencil story problems to solve, they have a physical problem to solve. 
    National and State Science standards require teachers to teach and students to develop engineering skills -( not to become engineers, although  I hope that some will in the future.)  Engineering skills include looking at a task, thinking of materials and their properties, looking at how materials can be used, reused and combined in new ways.  
    What if I don't want to do this, can I do something else or extra credit?
     Most students received this assignment with enthusiasm and jumped right in. However, there might be a few students  that would prefer something easier.  While this assignment is very different and challenging, it is treated like any other project assignment.  There is not an alternative.  That would be like saying, I don't want to take the math, reading, science, spelling, social studies test, can I do something else instead?  No.
    If a  student decides not to do this challenge- the grade is a zero.  It is no different than if a student decided not to do a test, book report or other assignment, they would earn a zero grade.  
     As far as extra credit, most teachers allows extra credit after all regular assignments are completed.  Extra credit would not replace this assignment. When I offer extra credit, it is usually only a few points and rarely equal to the points of a small full assignment.  This assignment will have a couple entries in the grade book based on completing different phases. The DESIGN, MODIFY, and TEST report will be the bulk of the grade.
    This assignment, if completed will not ruin a student's quarter grade. However, if a student refuses, their overall quarter grade will be affected negatively.
    The grade is not based entirely on the condition of the chip, the majority of the grade is based on the students work in the DESIGN, TEST, MODIFY process.  That design/test/modify part of the grade is based on the student documenting  with any drawings, pictures, descriptions of what the student did  and turned in by the May 15 due date. This documentation part of the  assignment will be worked on at school as well.
    It looks like all the work has to be done at home, why?
    Why isn't the school providing the time, materials and postage?
    Students are told the majority of the "building and testing" work needs to be completed at home. Some will finish in one day, some will take several days. 
    I am providing time to work on their documenting of the project - they will be writing descriptions of what they did, how they tested it and the results. Students are encouraged to take pictures or video and then we can put that in a Powerpoint or Word document. These are not necessarily going to be "presented" to the class, but the reports will be the majority of the grade.
    Students can bring in flash drives, cds or email me the pictures, videos, word docs, Powerpoints, or using apple - pages, keynote etc.  I can work with just about any format.  krista.r@me.com or krirodrigues@davenport.wednet.edu
    If there is a student that needs some materials, postage or the Pringles - We can make arrangements for the student to "earn" those items.I want students to think of materials that they have available at home rather than me getting a limited amount and limiting their possibilities.  All 130+ students I have are working on this package.  I look forward to the variety in their designs.  
    One of the major reasons I want students to work independently at home is to give them the opportunity to work freely, without influence of their classmates.  By doing the majority of the work at home, their ideas will be their own and original even though several kids may come up with similar designs, they reached those designs on their own. 
    Students are expected to provide some material for school such as paper, pencils, calculator etc.  The items used in this can all be "recycled" or "reusable" from home.
    POSTAGE: Nothing other than the chips and postage need to be purchased.  If postage or chips pose a financial hardship, the student and I can make arrangements at school for opportunities for the student to help out at school to "earn" the postage or chips.  Many students are willing to share their Pringles.
    Do parents have to help?  
    Not necessarily.  This is an opportunity for parents and students who want to work together to do so.  It is not required.  The help that students might need is use of a camera, permission to use materials from home to make the package (tape, glue, cardboard, etc.) and help in getting Pringles chips and postage.
     Why Pringles?
    With 130+ students participating, the first premise in an experiment, investigation or design is a constant variable.  In our case, it is a Pringles chip because every student will have a chip that is the same size, same weight, same material.  A student can't say that their chip is weaker or different from another student's chip as they would if we used bagged chips (Ruffles for example).  
     Isn't there a lot of room for cheating?
    Yes, sadly there is.  Hopefully one project in middle school is not so important that it would turn an otherwise honest kid towards cheating.  I would hope that students take cheating seriously as a mark on their character.  I would hope that students would value original design and creativity versus simply copying from the internet. Where is the challenge and fun in that?    I would also hope that a person would not cheat on behalf of the student by sending a false picture of the chip.  What message does that send?    Students have said, "What's the big deal, it's not like we are cheating on a test or final exam."  My response is that - cheating is cheating.  Big or small, it is still wrong. 
    District policy states that cheating will cause the grade to be a zero on the assignment for the first offense. Cheating in the class a second time will earn a zero grade for the class for the quarter.  
    Comments (-1)


Last Modified on October 7, 2013