We did some perplexing things with paperclips and rubber bands this week. I showed the children how to bend a long strip of paper into an ‘s’ shape, then squash it together and add two paperclips at the two places where the paper touches. When I pulled on each end of the paper the children were surprised to see the two paperclips land on the table linked together.
The children then followed a set of drawings I had made, each one getting progressively harder and involving adding in one rubber band, then two rubber bands, then changing the positions of the bands along the strip of paper. The results were a combination of the paperclips and rubber bands being linked together in lots of different ways, some falling off the paper and some staying on. Some children made it to drawing 10, which results in an amazing Borromean link!
If you want to see how the paperclips become linked together, here is a slow motion video:
This is what the table looked like at the end! Lots of mess and lots of fun.