Coil Pot Game

The Coil Pot Game is a high energy skill game we play during those crazy days that one class is ahead, another behind, or a snow delay has left us no other choice in scheduling!  It is also a great lesson for a substitute teacher to follow through with- quick and easy directions for someone not comfortable with usual art plans.

Students are divided into teams of 3-4 and given equal amounts of modeling clay per group.

They are given a review on rolling coils, using a "pancake" bottom and general construction.

Students are asked to develop strategies with their group. They should consider theories on construction, like: how  they can best use their amount of clay...large coils vs. small coils?  Also, divide jobs between teammates.

The timer is set for approx. 15-25 minutes (you choose).

BUZZZZZ!   Measure all standing structures to determine the winning group!

Students must let go of their vessels on the buzzer.  Falling coils are disqualified, sorry!  Structure and construction are important.  Many of my winners do so on the "slow and steady win the race" theory 

I enjoy watching each group look at their peers ideas...they learn, rip apart, recoil, etc.  I feel this game builds fantastic problem solving skills. 

We often call it our "Survivor Challenge" for all of you reality TV fans out there. 

Stash this one in your emergency folder!


  1. Love this! With 29 classes in week's time, I NEVER seem to have all of the same grade level at the same place in a lesson - this will come in so handy! Thanks so much for sharing...

  2. I agree! Same here. I try to come up with ideas like this where the kids are still learning, but having fun when there is an off-set scheduling problem! I would like everyone to share their clever ideas as well. Lori K

  3. I love the kid's face in the first picture! Kids are so silly!

  4. Great idea! This would be a nice lesson for those crazy half days before a break when no one wants to settle down. :)

  5. what is the best modeling clay you use? I can't' stand the kind where you have to knead it forever to get it soft.

  6. About how much modeling clay do you usually need?

  7. Any modeling clay will work...we know some are better than others and unfortunately...I can not remember the kind I bought last time. I usually order from Sax (division of School Specialty). However, I see that Lakeshore has some, too. I usually get 12 packs and pull all of the same colors out to put together. I have six tables. Each kid in the team has at least a baseball sized ball to start with. Remember, even play-doh could work.

    I am not a HUGE fan of using modeling clay forever! After a few years I refer to it as the "booger" clay to my friend-teachers. Really- can you imagine the germs!!!

  8. Oh I love it! Nothing like a little competition to get kids motivated. Great Idea!


  9. So awesome!! My students would have loved this -- am adding to my files for my "someday if I'm back in the classroom" list!!
    Think I'll have to play it with my summer art camp kids -- thank you for sharing : )


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