With this activity, students may work individually or with a partner. The students get 16 toothpicks (preferably the flat ones so they do not roll around) and a copy of the recording sheet. The students make rows of squares with the toothpicks, starting with one square formed from 4 toothpicks. Students continue to add squares to the original square and they record the number of toothpicks they use, the number of squares made, and the perimeter of the entire row of squares.
The students should see a pattern in their records so they can make predictions for longer rows of squares without actually constructing them. The number of squares made and the perimeter are both linearly related to the number of toothpicks used.
The assignment includes thoughtful questions related to the activity and a graphing space for showing the relationships.
This product was created by Susan M. Walker.