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Students use sponge to soak up knowledge
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Students in the algebra II and geometry classes of Ryan Smith, Nathan Smith, Doug Gandy, and Vickie Mellons are hoping to see their names in the Guiness Book of World Records. The students had a hands-on way of learning about patterns, characteristics of three-dimensional cubes, surface area, and volume. The students worked for over a year creating a level three Menger’s Sponge.
Menger’s Sponge, named for its inventor Karl Menger, is a fractal solid that can be described as follows. Take a cube, divide it into 27 (3 x 3 x 3) smaller cubes of the same size. Remove the cube in the center of each face plus the cube at the center of the whole. Remaining is a structure consisting of the eight small corner cubes plus 12 small edge cubes holding everything together. Now, imagine repeating this process on each of these remaining 20 cubes. Repeat again, again, and again.
 “We decided that we were going to do something engaging and educational at the end of the year that will keep the students involved and give them ownership in something they can be proud of,” said Ryan Smith.
The teachers, students and various volunteers began working on the structure at the end of last school year and completed it at the end of this school year.
A level one sponge consists of 20 cubes. Each cube is made of six 3x5 index cards. A level two sponge consists of 400 cubes. The WCHS level three structure stands 9 feet tall and consists of 48,000 index cards, 8,000 cubes and about 2 miles of tape.
Students have been asked to predict the amount of material needed and possible measurements for a level four structure. 
“We are going to add to the Menger Sponge each year. The students have worked really hard and are excited about the possibility of getting into the Guinness Book of World Records,” says Ryan Smith.