Santa Loves Science Too: Holiday Lessons on Friction

Santa Loves Science Too: Holiday Lessons on Friction

Lauren Cook General

As the holidays draw near, questions about Santa Claus often pop up in inquisitive little minds. Is he magic? Why does he wear a red suit? Do reindeer really fly? And maybe the one most often asked….how does Santa get down the chimney?

First of all, who is this guy we call Santa and how exactly did this chubby, red suited, white bearded man, who resides in the North Pole evolve into today’s version of Santa Claus?

Interesting Santa Facts:

  • He is real (sort of). Santa is based loosely on a real person who was born in 270 A.D. St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra, a town in what is now Turkey. He was an anonymous gift giver who paid the dowries of poor girls and left treats for the children.
  • He has only been referred to as “Santa Claus” for a little over 200 years. The name Santa Claus appeared in a story in a New York newspaper in 1773.

Santa Claus

  • The contemporary Santa Claus image is mainly due to Coca Cola® commercials.
  • Santa’s sleigh would weigh more than 400,000 tons if it carried enough toys for all of the children in the world. To carry this much weight would require 360,000 reindeer!
  • Researchers calculate that if Santa is to reach every child on Christmas Eve, he has only a millisecond to go down each chimney, eat cookies, and distribute presents. That’s working fast!

So how does Santa go down the chimney?

While this theory has not been formally documented by anybody but us, we think it makes sense that Santa’s red suit is not only super attractive, but also has special friction reducing elements in it. After all, Mrs. Claus is a fabulous seamstress and knows a great deal about friction!

The Sled Race
So you see, December is a great month to explore the concept of friction and read the Fuddlebrook story, The Sled Race. Unfortunately, Bert and Freddie don’t know as much about friction as Mrs. Claus. You’ll have to read the story to learn more.

Christmas parties can be more than just candy and games! Kids will have so much fun as they design their own suit for St. Nick to quickly get down the chimney or create a sled that would zoom down a hill. For other ideas check out this month’s video, too!

So in the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, don’t forget science. After all, Santa loves science! His suit proves it!

Happy Holidays to all!