Time Capsule (EN)

During the math part of this project, you are constructing your own net to build a small time capsule. A


time capsule is a historic cache of goods or information, usually intended as a method of communication with future people and to help future archaeologists, anthropologists, or historians. Time capsules are sometimes created and buried during celebrations such as a world’s fair, a cornerstone laying for a building or at other events. Time capsules are placed with the intention that they will be opened or accessed at a future date.


An early example of the use of a time capsule was the Detroit Century Box. The brainchild of Detroit mayor William C. Maybury, it was created on December 31, 1900, and scheduled to be opened 100 years later. It was filled with photographs and letters from


56 prominent residents describing life in 1900 and making predictions for the future, and included a letter by Maybury addressed to the mayor of Detroit in 2000. The capsule was opened by city officials on December 31, 2000.

You and your table companion are going to construct a time capsule, and you both do need a little math to be able to do so! In fact, you may need some knowledge about solids or solid shapes.

You have already learned something about nets and solids in the first sections of your math book. Now watch the following videos in order to get a complete overview of the topic. After checking the videos, you are going to construct and develop the net and the corresponding solid shape or 3D shape.

During the first math lessons, you learned already about solid shapes and their properties, like faces, edges, vertices (page 20). Also, you know the definition of a net. From a net, you should be able to construct a solid or sold shape in this time capsule project. The required resource materials for these experiment are a geo triangle or ruler, scissors, white A4 or A3 sheets, pencils, and adhesive tape.
During this project, you will have to check your results at your math teacher and therefore fill in a form three times (Control Form). Ask your teacher if something is not clear, only after you have contacted at least another student or at least your table companion.

During the third or fourth math lesson for this Chapter (solids), you work together with your table companion on this project. The project concerns 5 tasks, described below. Depending on your progress of the regular math work, you may ask permission to continue working on this project during the subsequent lessons. Eventually, you can also take this project home and finish it in your own time.

Have fun with this little project!

TASK 1: What do solid figures look like when they are opened up? Watch this video to know more!:

TASK 2 Here’s the second video about solid figures and their traits. After you watched this video, fill in your control form for the first time, and consult your teacher.

TASK 3: Design a net for your time capsule. Construct this net, using A4 or A3 paper. Considering the construction or design, there are some requirements that you should keep in mind.

These requirements are:

♣ After folding, the solid figure has to be a surface that is completely closed at all sides and edges.
♣ The solid shape consists of at least 2 different nets (eg. a pyramid and a cuboid), however, within the construction, only a single compartment is allowed. No further compartments or intermediate walls are allowed. In case intermediate walls appear during the construction, they have to be removed.
♣ The solid shape has a content of at least a big bread drum but is not extending a shoe box.
♣ Draw the net of these solid shapes this time without sticky edges.
♣ Try making the net for the complete solid shape out of one piece of paper.

TIP: In case you have problems to start: First make sketches of your time capsule, and subsequently think about which solid shapes you need, in order to construct the time capsule.

TASK 4: If you and your partner are confident with the result, fill in the control form, visit your teacher and get your control form approved for the second time.

TASK 5: Next, you are going to rebuild of reconstruct the time capsule (according to the above mentioned requirements), however, this time with sticky edges. Also you are using sturdy cardboard paper this time, instead of white paper. The net should be made in duplicate. The first copy has to be stitched in 3D shape without paste on the sticky edges, but with adhesive tape. If this 3D shape has to be approved by your teacher, he or she should be able to cut off the faces along the edges. The second copy remains a flat net.


  1. Make pictures with your mobile phone: you need pictures from both the 3D solid shape as well as from the outfolded net.
  2. Show these pictures to your teacher, or send these pictures to your teacher by email. Use your Magister email program in order to do so.
  3. Complete the bottom part of the control form.
  4. With this form, get your third approval and continue with the regular math lessons, tasks, sentences.

You can find the link to the control form here as well.

EXTRA: If you are interested, you can extend your “time capsule trip” with the following:

Watch the videos below (in Dutch). In these videos, new solid shapes are presented (eg. a prism), and also the technique to construct the corresponding net is presented. However, in order to do so, you do need compasses for a proper construction of these nets. Check whether the construction of one of these nets is a challenge to you!

construction of a cuboid net

construction of a 6-angulair pyramid net

construction of a prism net

construction of nets of different solid shapes