I love challenges. I love to see how my kids will overcome the obstacle I set them to solve the problem. Over Christmas break I wanted to keep some science lessons going without having to formally teach anything, so I set them some paper engineering challenges. Each day I gave them a new challenge, and a time limit to solve the problem in.
They loved it. I’ve still got several more challenges to try with the kids, but it made for a great way to keep their brains going as we enjoyed our Christmas break.
How to set up your paper engineering challenges
While I’m sure with some work I could search out a long list of paper challenges on Pinterest, but I’ll be honest my time is too valuable to spend that time right now. Instead, I went to Pitsco Education and picked up their Paper Engineering Challenges kit. It had all of the challenges put together in a nice notebook, advanced instructions for the teacher, and suggested ways of presenting it.
Lesson planning done.
Next I picked up a giant stack of index cards*, several pairs of scissors*, and some glue sticks* for the first few days challenge. Side note, I love that I already had EVERYTHING IN MY HOUSE as I got this challenge ready.
Then I set them loose. I gave my kids five minutes per challenge. If using this with a larger group, and you want to get through more challenges you could easily do a shorter amount of time (for the early challenges). The later ones require more time to problem solve (I’m planning the rest as a monthly engineering challenge).
They had so much fun figuring out how to do each challenge, it was quite funny to see some of their results, and how they came at that idea.
They also were rather artistic at times. Which I didn’t expect.
I’ll be updating this post with more of their favorite engineering challenges. My favorite (so far) was the first one because it took so much creativity to come up with more ways to make paper stand up without any cutting or gluing. The kids liked the third one with the addition of glue and scissors. To their mind everything is better with glue.
I’m using one of the later challenges for our World War 2 funschooling week later today (also it’s raining and I need a good rainy day activity to keep the kids from destroying my house).
Get your own Paper Engineering Challenge book
You can pick up your own Paper Engineering Challenge book from Pitsco Ed.