Entering Jan Blasberg’s classroom at Raymond J. Fisher Middle School’s Open House last month was like walking on to the movie set of Honey I Shrunk the Kids. There was a Crayola crayon as big as a baseball bat, a bright red Lego block the size of a shoebox, and a stick of butter that might come in handy if you were buttering toast for a giant.
No, Rick Moranis didn’t come and shrink the 39 geometry students—they completed an “Enlarge-It Project” assigned by math teacher Mrs. Blasberg, of the infamous fame.
For the project, all eighth-graders choose a hand-held object to scale up by a linear factor of two-to-eight times larger. The object had to include some writing, and students were not allowed to use any technology such as a photo copier or a computer. The materials the students used had to make their projects look as realistic as possible.
Sound daunting? It was. Students, who completed the project at home, armed themselves with wood, foam, Exacto knives, hot glue, paint, sharpies, sand paper, compasses, and of course, rulers!
Lauren Finkle enlarged a Sun-Maid raisin box to twice its size. “I was kicking myself for choosing something with a face on it,” she says, referring to the sassy “raisin lady.” After measuring the width of her face and red bonnet, Lauren scaled, then painstakingly painted the elements onto her project. The only thing that soothed her frazzled nerves was singing at the top of her lungs to her Wicked soundtrack.
To create a balsa wood enlargement of a Kitchen Aid measuring teaspoon that was five times its original size, Liat Rubin raided her dad’s office and learned to master a Dremmel 8000 handdrill.
Power tools aside, Ashleigh Dimpflmaier had challenges of her own. When she tried to supersize a stick of butter, her model softened on her in the middle of taking measurements. She then placed the butter in the freezer overnight and voila—problem solved. That was, until Ashleigh's curious cat jumped into the paint just as she was writing the letters “Grade AA Butter” onto her project.
Perhaps the most appetizing enterprise was Mary Stone’s supersized Hershey’s Kiss. The giant foil-wrapped candy (complete with paper plume) looked big enough to feed an army. Trust me, you don’t want to know how many calories the treat contains. But if you really must know, I’m sure Mrs. Blasberg will happily crunch the numbers and tell you.