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  • Writer's pictureCamille Cutwright

While Waiting for Santa... 2019: Gingerbread Insulae Challenge (Day 5 of the DCA)

In Ms. Camille's classroom, spending classroom money wisely has been a rough process to learn for the students. Having to pay rent (for their seat), utilities (for education services), and saving for a down payment on their seats (mortgage) each month has been a struggle.

To relax and prepare for the holiday season, rent and utilities were not charged for the month of December (unrealistic, I know). With students coming and going, this is a great time for them to use every moment to enjoy the festivities. To add to the experience, each class had the opportunity to use their earnings to bid on daily prizes, games, and activities. The catch is: they never knew what the prize was until each class had placed their final, crowdfunded bids. The students were forced to rely on quotes, excerpts, poems, and riddles to figure out what they were receiving. The classes that did not make the highest bid, had the opportunity to keep their money. The class that made the ultimate bid, received a special (or not so special) prize.

Day 5 of the Days of Christmas Auctions began with a poorly written riddle for the students to decipher:

Santa Claus landed his sleigh on the roofs of Ancient Roman children, hoping to deliver their pet rocks. The weight of Santa and the sleigh caused the 6-story complex to slant. This slant started a chain reaction that destroyed the city of Rome. What kind of apartments did they live in? Who are the Romans to blame?

The answer to the first question is insula. Insulae were Roman tenement apartments that could be five or more stories tall and were often of poor construction. Insulae often fell down and could be washed away in flood waters. To answer the second question, it was common place for Emperor Nero to blame Christians for issues in the Roman Empire. This occurred when a fire spread across Roman insulae and destroyed majority of the city, Nero placed blame on Christians.

What prize, game, or activity did the boys get to participate in?

The boys were placed in groups and provided the following:

  • Graham Crackers

  • Chocolate Icing

  • Vanilla Icing

  • Peanut Butter

  • Cherry Sours

  • Gumdrops

  • Peppermints sticks

  • Fruit Sours

Their task was to build the tallest, nicest, gingerbread (graham cracker) insulae in a certain amount of time. Unlike Roman insulae, they would need to stand freely once the timer went off.

Catch pictures from the competition below and stay in the loop at for other activities and newsletters.

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