What Can You Do With The Sunday Paper?
Years K - 8


A team activity for the whole family.

 

Preparation

  • Don't recycle the Sunday paper (or any other) until you first reuse it for maths.
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Camera
  • Write the title of this challenge and today's date on a fresh page in your maths journal.
    Or you might record the family's activity on your preferred social media platform.

Making the Maths Equipment

Work as a team to make these two sizes of rolled newspaper.

Tubes
Open the newspaper and lay it landscape on the table.
Roll the top sheet.
Hold the ends and middle with a short piece of masking tape.
You should be able to fit your thumb into the end.
You will need at least a dozen.

Joiners (or Sticks)
Turn the newspaper to lie portrait on the table.
Roll the top sheet very tightly.
Hold the ends with a short piece of masking tape
...but the one in the middle has to go right around.
Not even an ant can get into the end.
You will need at least a dozen of these too.
You can easily make more when you need them.

  • Keep half your tight rolls to use as sticks.
  • Cut the others through the middle masking tape.
  • The two short pieces can be bent to join the tubes.

   

Have fun exploring maths with the Sunday Paper.

 

Shapes

"What's that box of paper stuff for Grampa?" asks 6 year old Piper.
"Well if you have two of these tubes, how would you join them together?"
Piper takes one in each hand and tries to push their ends together.

"That doesn't work. They're the same. I could use more masking tape."
"Sorry, no more tape, but if I take one of these and bend it, then it will go in the ends of your tubes."
"Oh yeah. Now it makes a V."
"Piper, do you know any shapes?"
"Sure a triangle."
"Show me how to make one out of your V."

Piper's first newspaper triangle.

"Do you know any other shape?"
"A square." then instantly, "And I can change the triangle into a square like this."

Challenge
  • Make Piper's shapes and photograph them, because they will be yours.
  • Can you make a shape with 5, 6, 7, ... sides?
  • Sketch or photograph all the shapes you make and find out their names.

  • What happens if you join a triangle to a triangle?
  • What happens if you join a triangle to a square?
  • What happens if you join a triangle to any of your other shapes?
  • Get some of your toy animals and make paddocks for them to live in.
Take lots of photos for your social media pages (and send some to us for our gallery below).
Jojo in Year 6 turned a text book exercise into a symmetry investigation using newspaper tubes. Click the photo to play her You Tube video. You will discover what she learned ... and she gives you an extra challenge.

Objects

Oma joined in and asked, "What happens if we build up like this?", as she pointed a newspaper stick up from the corner of a triangle.
Piper helped her to finish it and they made something that had four triangles.

Now it's your turn to make the object they made.

After you try you can check in the Answers below.
The answer also gives you an idea for making a decoration for Christmas or birthday.

 

Piper and Grampa decided to try the same idea starting with a square. They made a new object.

It looked like this from the top.
It looked like this from the side.

Now it's your turn to make the object they made. What name would you give to this object?

After you try you can check in the Answers below.

Challenges

  • Add some more tubes to one of your pyramids to turn it into a house.
  • What is the tallest newspaper object you can make that will stand up by itself?

Stuff with Sticks

Making Symbols
A calculator uses just six (6) sticks to make each digit from zero (0) to nine (9).

   
  • Can you make your age?
  • Can you make your house number?
  • Can you make the equation 2 + 3 = 5?
  • Make up your own equation and check it on the calculator.
  • Can you make letter of the alphabet? You might need more sticks.
  • What do your initials look like?

Making Patterns
  • Make a chain of triangles like the ones in the photo.
  • As you make the chain, write a list like this showing
    the number of Triangles and the number of Sticks at each step.

Triangles Sticks
1 3
2 5
... ...

Stop making when you get to seven (7) triangles.

Challenges

  • Predict the number of sticks you would need to make 10 triangles.
        Can you check your answer another way?
  • Predict the number of sticks you would need to make 50 triangles.
        Can you check your answer another way?
  • Predict the number of sticks you would need to make 100 triangles.
        Can you check your answer another way?
Extra Challenges

  • If I tell you any number of triangles, can you tell me how to calculate the number of sticks?
  • Suppose I don't understand your explanation, could you tell me how to do it another way?
  • What happens if we go back to the start and investigate a chain of squares?

 

What's It Worth?

The squares might be window frames.
They are the same size so they cost the same to make.
  • Suppose the squares are worth 25 each. What is the rectangle worth?
  • Suppose the squares are worth 38 each. What is the rectangle worth?
  • Suppose the squares are worth 77 each. What is the rectangle worth?

  • Suppose the rectangle is worth $1. What is each square worth?
  • Suppose the rectangle is worth $126. What is each square worth?
  • Suppose the rectangle is worth $572. What is each square worth?
Add one more square, so the whole window has three (3) equal parts.
  • Give your own value to each square and calculate the value of the whole window.
  • Give your own value to the whole window and calculate the value of each square.
Add one more row of three, so the whole window has six (6) equal parts.
Looking across the whole new window it is two (2) rows of three squares.
Looking up and down the the whole new window it is three columns of two squares.
  • Suppose the rows are worth 21 each. What is the value of each column? What is the value of the whole window?
  • Suppose the rows are worth 84 each. What is the value of each column? What is the value of the whole window?
  • Give your own value to the rows. Work out the value of each column and the whole window.

  • Suppose the columns are worth 18 each. What is the value of each row? What is the value of the whole window?
  • Suppose the columns are worth 96 each. What is the value of each row? What is the value of the whole window?
  • Give your own value to the columns. Work out the value of each row and the whole window?

  • Suppose the whole window is worth 90. What is the value of each row and each column and each square?
  • Suppose the whole window is worth $306. What is the value of each row and each column and each square?
  • Give your own value to the whole window. Work out the value of each row, each column and the whole window.

Extra Challenges

Make the window on the left.
You might find this window shape in a church or a city hall.

The whole hexagon window is made of six equilateral triangles.
The picture on the right shows you can also think of it as three diamonds.
The sides of the diamond are all equal, so the shape is also called a rhombus.

The hexagon can also be seen as two isosceles trapeziums.
Can you find them?
Some schools use tables with this shape.

The whole is the hexagon.
The parts are the:

  • triangles - 6 of them
  • rhombuses - 3 of them
  • trapeziums - 2 of them
Give your own value to the whole or to one of the shapes and then find the value of the others.
Do this a few times with different values for different parts or the whole.

Just Before You Finish

  • Remember to send us photos of the things you made or did in this activity.
  • In your journal write and draw about all the things you have learned while you have been exploring how to use the Sunday paper.
  • Read your Working Like A Mathematician page again and write two or more sentences explaining how you worked like a mathematician.

 

Answers & Discussion

This is like the object made by Oma and Piper.
It is a pyramid made on a triangle base.
All its sides are the same length so it is also called a regular tetrahedron.
The person who made this one, used an extra joiner or two in the corners and added a little extra masking tape before hanging it up to display Christmas cards. The cards will even stand on top of each other up the sloping edges. (If no one turns on the air con!)

This is the object made by Piper and Grampa.
It is a pyramid made on a square base.
Piper said it's like the pyramids in the desert.

She also thought it was a good place to keep her swords.

 

Send any comments or photos about this activity and we can start a gallery here.

 

Maths At Home is a division of Mathematics Centre