This post is part of my 20 pointed star project series. See my part one and two. The first day of the project is usually just setting up and passing out materials. If you have longer than a 50 minute class, then you would probably have time to start the next phase.
To Get Started:
Give each student a zip lock bag and have them put their name on their zip lock bag. The large box of straws from Sams already come separated into smaller bags, so pass out one bag to each group. Each student needs to count out 45 straws and take the wrappers of the straws. This makes a mess, so make sure to have extra trash bags handy.
As students work on separating the wrappers from the straws, use this time to start calling one group at a time to pick out their first ribbon color. If you stretch your arm out wide, that’s how long I usually give for each student’s first piece of string. I know it may seem like a lot, but trust me it goes quick! Luckily, there is plenty of ribbon on each spool. The amount of ribbon I have here is a little excessive because I’ve been building up my stash over the past few years. I think I started the first year with 6 spools of ribbon. It was plenty for all four of my classes (approximately 120 students). The project takes multiple days, so just keep an eye on your stash and determine yourself if you need to get more ribbon later.
90 straw pieces are needed, but we cut the straws in half so that the projects aren’t so huge! After they take off the wrappers, have them cut the straws in half. Make sure you take time to stress to the students that every piece needs to be the same size! Talk to them about strategies of making sure straws are the same size. For example, fold one in half to get the exact middle point. Use that one as a template to cut each of the other straws. Some will try to cut more than one straw at a time. For your sanity, put a limit on how many they can cut at a time. They will start cutting huge handfuls at a time. Straws go everywhere AND they end up being cut the wrong size. It’s okay for them to take their time on cutting the straws, just stress that each should be as close as possible to the same size! This process will take the students the rest of the class period. When they finish, all of their straws should be placed in their ziplock bag along with their strand of ribbon ready to start building the next day!
Keep in mind that students need time for clean up and gathering up all their materials. I usually start the clean up process about 7 minutes before the bell rings, maybe a little more on the first day because of all the wrapper pieces that I have to ask students to pick up off the floor! 🙂