Toothpick/Paper Clip Activity for Area Topic Index | Algebra Index | Regents Exam Prep Center

This activity can be done with toothpicks or paper clips.  While this activity is an investigation involving area, it is also a good introduction to quadratics.

 With Toothpicks:

 Distribute 20 toothpicks to each student, or group of students. Be sure to remind the students not to put the toothpicks in their mouths.

 Ask students to form as many different rectangles as possible using ALL 20 toothpicks.  Students should be observing the length, width, perimeter and area of each rectangle.

Have students record their data on the worksheet and then complete the worksheet.

 Toothpick Activity length width perimeter area

 When the data has been collected, have students prepare a graph to display the areas (length on the x-axis, area on the y-axis).  Encourage discussions on the maximum/minimum area, the relationship between the length and the area, the relationship between the perimeter and the area, etc.

 With Paper Clips:

 This activity can also be done with paper clips.  Have students string the 20 paper clips together to form a "necklace" of clips.  The rest of the investigation will be the same as described above.

 Topic Index | Algebra Index | Regents Exam Prep Center Created by Donna Roberts