I am in 7th grade and for my science fair project, I need a way to measure the force on a dropped object when it hits the ground. What I am trying to determine is which packing materials provide the best protection for an object in a collision. So I am planning on dropping containers filled with different packing materials surrounding some sort of force-measuring device in the middle. But I don't know how to either obtain or construct the force-measuring device.
Because I am measuring the effectiveness of the packing material, I need to measure the force inside. One method I thought about was having a metal ball sitting on top of clay. After hitting the ground, the ball will dig into the clay. I can measure how deep the impact is and assume that the deeper the hole, the greater the force. But I am not sure if this will work.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to measure force (using either my idea or something else entirely)?