Here is a really cool project idea for middle grade math classes, courtesy of misscalculate's blog. She gave her students a memorable lesson on calculating surface area for tin men of their own design!
Students used tissue rolls, boxes, styrofoam and other supplies to build little men. Next, they had to find the surface area for the little men, including all parts of their design. Their surface area calculations were tested when they were given a measured amount of foil; if their amount of tin foil could fit over the entire tin man, with no gaps or overlapping areas, then their measurements were successful!
What a great assessment activity! Visit her blog to see students' creations, as well as download the rubric, surface area formulas, and reflection questions used for the project. I love that she wanted to do something memorable with the class and let them practice their skills. I bet they won't soon forget it!