Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Time to Think Challenges

Usually when someone says a week has been challenging, visions of difficult situations fill my thoughts but this has been a fun week of challenging activities at school.
Here are some of the fun activities we have done in the classroom but you may want to do them at home with your family members.
I think this is just the kind of activity that helps to grow stronger brain power.

Standing Straw Structure:
Can you make a straw stand up? These high school students were challenged to do just that.  To meet the requirements of the activity they were given instructions to take as many drinking straws as necessary and begin assembling them to make a freestanding structure using only an occasional miniature marshmallow to complete the task.  The structure has to stand at least 3 feet tall and stand alone for 30 seconds to satisfy the requirements of the challenge.

I used cheap neon colored straws that did not have the bend-y part and miniature marshmallows.  No other supplies were allowed. Students worked in teams of two or three and were given an hour to work on the structure.  Most were completed in the allotted time.

This assignment was a hit for the students.

Mr. Potato Figures:
The last time these students played with play dough was about ten years ago or maybe more but they jumped into the middle of this project with enthusiasm.  The assignment was to create a figure using a potato, play dough in various colors, and toothpicks.  The figure had to have all facial features, plus ears, hair, a hat, arms, hands, legs and shoes and something that suggested clothes such as a scarf or buttons.

Where is the challenge?  The potato itself can not touch the table.  It must be suspended above the table by at least an inch. I allowed an hour for this activity.  Most students completed the task in about 45-50 minutes.

High-schoolers enjoy revisiting their childhood.  Prepare yourself for laughter if you do this project. 

Make a Marble Run:
Here is one the whole family will get into.  It is just hard to stand by and watch without wanting getting involved.  There is just so much science in this activity and so much fun. To see more about the marble run see my post on June 21.

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