Try out our 3 Christmas festive science experiments and show off to your family that you can shrink a coin, make beads jump and step through a Christmas card!

Find out how to make these experiments by watching the short animated video below, or follow the instructions underneath the video.

Shrink a Coin

To shrink a coin you’ll need:
  • 1 x 1p coin
  • 1 x 2p coin
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  1. Put a 1p coin in the middle of paper and draw around it using your pencil.
  2. Cut out the circle and show people the 2p coin can’t fit through such a tiny hole.
  3. Fold paper in half across the hole and drop the 2p coin into the fold so that it sits snugly in the hole.
  4. Grip paper either side of coin. Keeping paper upright, wiggle paper and move hands to bring thumbs together. Watch your coin fall through the gap!
Science behind the experiment

The coin doesn’t really shrink. The small two dimensional hole can be stretched into the third dimension when the paper is folded. This makes a gap big enough for the larger coin to fit through.

Jumping Beads

To make beads jump you’ll need:
  • 1 x string of beads
  • 1x glass
  1. Put the beads into a glass leaving a loose end at the top.
  2. Pull about 5cm worth of beads out of the glass over on edge.
  3. Then all you need to do is let them drop! As they start to fall, you’ll see some of the beads defy gravity and jump up before they fall down.
Science behind the experiment

By dropping the end of the beads over the side of the glass you have converted potential energy into kinetic (movement) energy. The beads are all joined together so as the end falls it pulls on the next one and the next one and so on until all of the beads are out of the glass. There’s so much energy you can see the beads jump up slightly before they fall down!

Step through a Christmas Card

To step through a Christmas card you will need:

  • A Christmas Card
  • Scissors
  1. Take one folded Christmas card and cut lines across the card from the folded side up to about 1cm from the edge.
  2. Next cut lines from the opposite side of the card in the gaps between the first cut. It should look like the red lines below:

    Where to cut on the paper
  3. The final step is to cute along the fold between the first cut and the last cut – just like the blue line in the picture. This might be fiddly, it’s best to do one part at a time.
  4. Open up your card and step through the giant hold you’ve created!
Science behind the experiment

Cutting the postcard as shown in the pattern above, creates a hole that is larger than the original size of the postcard. The area that the original postcard took up is now spread around the tiny cardboard strips that make up the edge of the hole.