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Choose a box and work out the smallest rectangle of paper needed to wrap it so that it's completely covered.
This activity is suitable for working in pairs (which of course will require less special paper at the end). Supply the children with lots of newspaper and a selection of boxes to choose from. Spend a little time in comparing the boxes. Ask them to predict which box they think will need the most wrapping paper, the least paper, two that might need the same amount etc. Encourage them to experiment with wrapping the boxes in various ways and to cut off parts of the sheet of newspaper, keeping it rectangular. Have the pairs demonstrate their solution to others and compare the shapes and areas of their papers. Discuss the predictions they made earlier. The piece of newspaper can then be used as a template for cutting the same rectangle from the special wrapping paper. Perhaps the children could first try to fit the templates together over the special paper in such a way that little is wasted.
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This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
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