Students from St. Mark's School claim to have broken the record for folding paper at MIT Sunday using more than 10 miles of toilet paper. Photo submitted by St. Mark's School.
It took more than 10 miles of toilet paper and more than seven hours of work, but students and teachers from St. Mark's School say they solidified the school’s paper-folding record at MIT Sunday.
Seventeen students from the boarding school in Southborough worked with mathematics teacher Dr. James Tanton to fold 53,000 feet of toilet paper in half 13 times Sunday using the climate-controlled confines of the 825-foot hallway known as the Infinite Corridor at MIT.
Tanton and 15 students managed to fold 13,000 feet of toilet paper in half 13 times last year-breaking the previous record of 12 folds set in 2002. But the school's record-breaking attempt last year was somewhat tainted because the folded paper was unstable and fell apart.
This year, Tanton said the students succeeded in making a stable fold that has been secured and taken back to St. Mark's where it will be put on display in a Plexiglass case.
“I think now we’ve really slam-dunked it,” Tanton said Monday.
Tanton said students began working on the paper-folding project around 12:30 p.m. Sunday and toiled with the toilet paper until about 7:30 p.m. before breaking the record.
“This was horrendous,” Tanton said. “It took a lot of doing.”
The students used special jumbo rolls of toilet paper that had 2,000 feet of toilet paper each. The rolls were taped together and the students folded the paper in half until it was only five feet long and two and ½ feet high with 8,129 layers.
The school was a guest of MIT origami club, OrigaMIT, at the university, and once the students secured the ten miles of folded toilet paper, they bussed it the 26 miles back to Southborough.
While a paper folding category does not currently exist in the Guinness Book of World Records, the school has submitted an application asking Guinness World Records to create the category.