Day 1 of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind:

Background Information and The Paper Tower Challenge

  • Opening Session: Malawi GeographyNOW! 
  • Work Session: Build a Paper Tower
  • Closing Session: TOTD – Reflection

ELAGSE9-10RI2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Learning Target – What am I going to learn today?

I can understand the background context of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Opening Session:

Let’s start out by learning a little more about where our new book is set: Malawi Geography NOW!
As you’re watching, think about what you might already know about Sub-Saharan Africa. Does the information in the video reinforce what you already think, or is it new and might it potentially change your perspective? Does this make you curious to learn more? We will discuss after the video!

 Work Session – How am I going to learn it?

For our work session today, I have a little challenge for you all!

 First – Everyone has to put their phone away!! This is a NO PHONE activity! Go ahead and pack everything in your bag and put your bag at the front of the room or underneath your chair 🙂

Now, here’s your challenge: 

Build a Paper Tower!

  • Get into groups of up to 4 people (you can use your table, or move to another table if you are all by yourself)
  • I will give each table 4 sheets of plain printer paper.
  • Your challenge: build the tallest tower you can that will support the weight of a heavy textbook.
  • You have NO OTHER SUPPLIES, just the paper!
  • If you mess up your paper, there are no extra sheets. In other words, have a plan before you start folding.
  • The winning group is the group that builds the tallest textbook-supporting tower!

You will have approximately half an hour to build your paper tower. Plan carefully with your group, then execute your plan! When you are ready to test with the textbook, call me over and we’ll see how you did!

Some tips: 

  • It’s really easy to get “one paper” tall. Getting taller than one sheet of paper is tricky!
  • You can rip, fold, bend, or stack your paper in any way you like – but remember, folded paper never really goes back to flat, and you can’t un-tear it!
  • Sometimes, groups sacrifice one sheet to test out their designs… it’s not a crazy idea!
  • Think math! What shapes are the strongest?

Good luck and Happy Folding!

Closing Session – How will I show that I learned it?

Let’s close the day with a little reflection. Answer the questions in the discussion below this page 🙂

  1. How did your group do in the paper tower challenge?
  2. How did your group approach the challenge?
  3. What was it like working with limited resources?
  4. What resources would have made the challenge easier (tape? paper clips? glue?)
  5. Did the lack of resources make you more innovative than you otherwise would have been?

After you have answered the questions, go check out your classmates’ answers and reply to someone! You can ask questions about their response, or you can comment with your agreement or disagreement. Remember, you must comment on a classmate’s post in order to receive credit for this Ticket Out The Door.

Paper Tower Gallery