If you’ve seen the Star Wars movies or photos from them, you might know about one of the coolest weapons in them: the lightsaber. A “saber” is a sword, so a light saber is just a sword-shaped beam of light. But the blades of light can’t cut through each other: when two lightsabers clash, they buzz and sizzle. So how did the movie props people make these cool weapons? The truth is, each actor waved a handle holding a painted piece of broomstick. Then the movie editors took each “frame,” or snapshot from the movie, and painted a clear piece of plastic to match where the lightsaber was. They make a new movie of those pictures, then put the two movie together so the sticks in their hands glow. Really boring for the actors, but sizzlin’ cool for us to watch. And as we see in this photo, a group of dancers in San Francisco actually taught a lightsaber class with regular lit-up sticks, so people could feel the force themselves.
Wee ones: What shapes does that yellow streak of light look like?
Little kids: If your Jedi instructor is training you to use 2 lightsabers at once, and she’s using 2 lightsabers also, how many lightsabers do you have together? Bonus: If you chose yours from a pile with 1 green lightsaber, 1 blue, and 1 yellow, how many different left-right pairs could you have picked?
Big kids: If your opponent lunges at you 3 seconds into your match and then every 3 seconds after that, how many lunges do you fend off in a 1-minute match? (Reminder if needed: A minute has 60 seconds.) Bonus: If 14 of you are training, and together you have twice as many yellow lightsabers as red ones and twice as many blues as yellows, how many of you have blue?
Wee ones: A circle, or a cone (“truncated,” meaning cut off at the top).
Little kids: 4 lightsabers. Bonus: 6 pairs: GB, GY, BG, BY, YG, YB.
Big kids: 20 lunges. Bonus: The colors make 2 sets of 7 sabers – 1 red, 2 yellows, and 4 blues – so there are 2 x 4 or 8 blue lightsabers.