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.
Download Lab Worksheet for use in your
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
students record their data on the worksheet and then complete
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.