Cardboard Challenge 2016: More Awesome Than Ever

Cardboard Challenge 2016: More Awesome than Ever | For our 2016 Cardboard Challenge, my students went all out. Our cardboard cutters were buzzing, the hot glue guns were all in use. There were all sorts of amazing creations being built all around.

Our 2016 Cardboard Challenge

We’ve been doing the Cardboard Challenge at Stewart every year since we first started our makerspace in 2014.  See our 2014 challenge here and our 2015 challenge here.  Our challenge is inspired by the YouTube video, Caine’s Arcade and the Global Cardboard Challenge.  Every year we start the challenge by watching the video and then I let my students dig in to the cardboard I’ve been hoarding for months.  They certainly rose to the challenge this year.

Cardboard projects at work

Cardboard projects at work

Organizing a Cardboard Challenge

I save cardboard for months ahead of our cardboard challenge.  I keep it organized in our Maker Room on a makeshift cart I created (see image in this post).  During the challenge, I make several glue guns available, at least three to four Skil cardboard cutters, and tons of packing tape.  My students also love acyrlic paint, recycled materials like bottle caps, and lots of glitter 🙂  I keep all of these supplies freely available so that students can easily get what they want.

The working cardboard ATM. Insert a credit card and it spits out money.

The working cardboard ATM. Insert a credit card and it spits out money.

Examples of Student Projects

  • Robot armor
  • A Batman costume
  • Cardboard ATM
  • Cardboard Laptop
  • Storm shelter
  • Cardboard confetti cannon
  • A cardboard board game, complete with rules and a LEGO spinner
The cardboard laptop, complete with a QWERTY keyboard.

The cardboard laptop, complete with a QWERTY keyboard.

Connecting with Others

Every year, I love to find opportunities to connect my students with other schools and give them an authentic audience.  This year, we connected with students at The Stokie School in Winnetka, IL.  You can read about it in my AASL Knowledge Quest article.  My students had an awesome time and were super excited to share all about their projects.

The cardboard confetti cannon and the cardboard board game

The cardboard confetti cannon and the cardboard board game

Have you ever held a Cardboard Challenge with your students?  What kinds of projects did they create?

Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog She was a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest from 2015-2018. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.


  1. […] Challenge has long been a staple activity in our makerspace.  In fact, I just wrote about our 2016 challenge in my previous […]

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