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What Can You Make of It?

Source Institutions

    Chicago Children's Museum

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What Can You Make of It?

In this activity (located on page 2 of PDF), learners explore alternative uses of a simple paper cup, dubbed a "mystery item." Learners act as detectives and explore the properties and functions of the cups. Learners can use scissors to cut and experiment with the cups. They record their findings on a data sheet. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)


  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, Chicago Children's Museum, ©2010


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