Sunday, June 1, 2014

My first Cardboard Challenge...7 months late

Last October I was perusing Twitter and I noticed a lot of people talking about a "Cardboard Challenge".  I had no idea what it was about, but obviously it peaked my interest.  I investigated further and found out that it was based on this kid, Caine, who built an arcade in his garage out of cardboard.  From there, it snowballed into a movement of creativity.  As my students are well aware, I like to use them as guinea pigs for new things I find, and this was no exception. That being said, I was sad to see that I missed the actual "day", but I tucked the idea away in my head for future use.

Fastforward to Spring Break time when I decided to make this idea into a reality.  We started saving all the cardboard boxes from our cafeteria & storing them in my room.  Side note: Holy crap! That was a lot of boxes and I am SO glad to have them out of my room.  I didn't tell the students why, I let them ask me.  When they began noticing the giant pile forming in our side room they finally asked, "why" and I said, "there for the Cardboard Challenge." And that was all I said.  They wanted more details but I wouldn't give them.  Then a few weeks ago I asked them to start bringing in duct tape for the challenge.  Again they started asking me questions, again I didn't tell them.  Finally, about a week before, I showed them the video about Caine's Arcade and the Cardboard Challenge. The excitement grew and grew while the video was playing. 

Then I explained the rules:
1) No weapons
2) Must be school appropriate
3) You may work alone, in pairs, or in groups (max 4)
3) Impress me

After my experience this year, I will add a rule #4: no quitting if it doesn't work out.

The kids did awesome! We went to the gym so they had a ton of room and they had 2 hours to build.  Then other classes came down and took a tour of the projects.  

Things that didn't go child got very frustrated that her house would stay standing. She took a break, but did come back in. While she was out, several other students tried to help her out, but her house ended up becoming a bear

I had a few (very few) who thought rolling the duct tape across the floor was a better idea than building. I might have to make a rule #5: appropriate use of duct tape

Everything else was smooth sailing! I even had one incredibly helpful student )who is also very shy and didn't want to show off his project) and he helped me recycle the rest of the unused boxes while they were showcasing their projects to the school.

Overall, it was an incredible experience, and you could feel the creativity bursting out of the gym.  We will definitely do it again next year, only next year we'll shoot for October and maybe expand it to both 5th grade classes.  Below are some pictures that show off their hard work.


  1. How cool Lia! I am proud of you fostering creativity in those kids!

  2. Seems they really enjoy this cardboard challenge. It shows how artistic they are. Glad that you shared it.

  3. Fantastic Post!It's really help for students.Thanks for share this.

  4. Nice Post!!!It's very creative.I'm glad to see your post and appreciate your work with creative ideas for kids.Thanks for posting.