Making Books with children · moving parts

Paper Springs

How to make a paper spring
Paper Springs

There is nothing that I teach that attracts the focus of young classroom students more than the promise of a paper spring. Nothing that I teach  elicits more ‘oohs’ and  ‘aahs’ than when I show-off a completed spring.  Although it is a small element (about 1″ x 1″ x 2″)  the colors and the movement of it delights children.

Hand made paper springs
Paper Spring Line-Up

My next post will be a how-to handout on how to make a paper spring.  But, simply put, attach, at a right angle, the ends of two equal strips of paper. Alternately fold one strip over the other until you run out of paper.  That’s all.  If you like, take a look  on page 31 of a book I co-authored for Scholastic; here you will find more complete directions.  Or wait unti my next post, which will be an instruction sheet for the paper spring.

The way that I usually use this structure with children is to place it on a page under something that can be enlivened by a bit of movement.  Often, for example, at the back of the book, where there is a blurb about the student/author, I will ask students to cut out a tracing of their hand which they then  mount on a spring, so that the hand waves.

There are many other ways to use paper springs, including gluing them together, end to end.  A word of caution:  if you leave strips of paper behind for children, after having mentioned the bit about the paper chain, when you visit the classroom next you are likely find a paper chain that has aspirations of reaching China.