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Longest Closed Shape Challenge

Today, I challenged my kids to see who could make the longest/biggest closed shape out of paper.  I am extremely competitive and bragged explained that I would win this challenge AND I wouldn't use any tape.  My kids were super excited to try to beat me.  The each received 1 piece of paper and about 18 inches of tape.  I gave them half an hour to construct the largest shape they could.  Here's the results:



The kids did a great job and almost beat me.  (I was a little worried that I wasn't going to win.) My shape is the long blue one and won by about 6 inches.


So, here's the trick to beating your kids.  First, fold your paper in half.  Notice how the first and last cuts are made.  Those are the 2 most important cuts.  You will go back and forth the entire length of the fold.  The closer you make these cuts, the longer/larger your shape will be.



Next, you will cut the fold.  DO NOT CUT THE FIRST OR LAST FOLDS.  Open it up slowly so you don't rip it.  It will easily be over 10-12 feet long.


I have also used this trick to challenge my kids to make a shape large enough for a person to walk through.  They always think it is impossible and love to learn how to make 1 piece of paper stretch so much.  I usually have 1-2 students go home and try this bet with their families!


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Paper Shovel CHallenge

Today's challenge was to create a shovel using only 2 pieces of construction paper and 12 inches of tape.  The kids worked together in partners or by themselves.  We tested the shovels to see how many lego pieces the shovel could scoop.  We had a tie.  These were the winning shovels.



They each scooped 25 lego pieces!  

Here are the shovels the other groups made.




The kids had a great time!


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Paper Chain Challenge

We have weeks of state testing this year.  To help my kids to stay focused and motivated, we are doing STEM activities in the afternoons.  Today, our challenge was to see which group could make the longest paper chain using only 1 piece of construction paper and about 12-14 inches of tape.  The students jumped right in and started creating.




After 20 minutes, we compared the lengths of each paper chain.  The green chain is actually folded in half!  The kids had a great time working together!



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