Each pair of students built a tin man out of boxes, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, Styrofoam balls, and cones. They had to use a formula sheet to first measure the surface area of the parts, showing all of their work for each part. Next they had to tape the parts together. The tin man had to have all parts attached and be sitting or standing on its own. Then I would give them the exact amount of foil they measured for, no more and no less. They had to cover their tin man as completely as possible without running out of tinfoil or having extra leftover.
After their project was complete, I had them answer twelve reflection questions about the project. I also created a rubric that they used to self-assess and then I used the same rubric to assess them as well.
The students worked hard and really enjoyed the project. It was complete insanity while it was happening but the students were so engaged and surprised by how little their tinfoil was and yet it still was enough. They finally figured out that math actually works.
This file includes 6 documents: Directions, Reflection Questions, Self-Assessment Rubric, Rubric, Worksheet, and Formula Sheet.