This is a project I use to do when I had 5th grade a few years ago - now that I have fifth grade again it was time to brush it off. I like this as a first project for 5th graders because, 1) The formatting stretches their brain at the beginning of the year, 2) It's complicatedly simple, and 3) Everyone can succeed with this AWESOME looking project and it sets them up for a good year.
To start out we talk about formatting - what does formatting mean? Where have they heard "format" before? Often I get students who say they have seen the word 'format' on the computer when they are writing in 'word'. We jump off that to explain what format means!
I explain to them that they will be formatting their name into a triangle - I show them with my name. I pass out triangles, pencils and send them on their way. Most students after a couple of tries can get it - a student or two may need some one on one help.
After they format their name into the triangle they trace it with a sharpie. Next, they get a square piece of paper (12in) and fold it in half, unfold, half the other way, unfold, then diagonal corners - if they do this correctly they will get 8 triangles the same size as their paper! So fancy how I planned that! ;)
This part is the longest part - they then trace their name into each triangle. After it is all traced they have to decide if they want a pattern, what colors, any designs?! I required them to have EMPHASIS on one of the triangles. I gave them relatively free reign on this project with the only requirements being: 1) one triangle had to have EMPHASIS and 2) the only white that is showing is where it's part of the design!