Piles of Paper: Estimate Paper Use

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
In this activity, learners keep track of how much paper the group uses in a week. Build awareness of paper waste, while strengthening measurement and estimation skills. First, gather predictions about how high the pile of scrap paper will be at the end of the week. Engage the group in measuring and recording each day, then at the end of the week, compare predictions and results. For more challenge, consider how high the pile might be in a month or year. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • scrap paper to be recycled
  • chart paper and marker
  • ruler or yardstick


  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Human Impact
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
      • Rate
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Collecting
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Mixing in Math


  • , © 2010, TERC, Inc., MA., 2010

Funding Source:

  • NSF, ESI-0406675 and DRL-0713537