As It Happens

These Atlanta students made the world's longest hopscotch course 

Students from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta jumped for joy on Saturday as they beat the record for the world’s longest hopscotch course — and all it took were 15,000 hops and 136 kilograms of cornstarch.

With hopscotch, you usually have to hop to one end and hop back. Fortunately, says the organizer, they didn’t

Ashleigh Henning, second from the right, celebrates with her fellow Georgia Institute of Technology students after they complete what they say is the world's longest hopscotch course. (Tyler Schott)

Students from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta jumped for joy on Saturday as they beat the record for the world's longest hopscotch course — and all it took were 15,000 hops and 136 kilograms of cornstarch.

Guinness is still in the process of verifying the record, but the organizers measured their final route at 6.75 kilometres — surpassing the previous record of 6.4 kilometres set in 2019 by the high-school non-profit organization Legwork for Lungs in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

"It turned out to be a pretty physically challenging endeavour, but not the most not the hardest thing I've ever done. So it was just a lot of fun really doing it with everyone," Chris Ozgo, a junior at Georgia Tech studying computer science and robotics, told As It Happens guest host Dave Seglins.

Watch: Students make the world's longest hopscotch course:

Ozgo co-founded the club SEE(k) D(iscomfort)  —  or SEED —  group where "first-year students at Tech can get leadership experience through our organization."

In this case, it meant making their club's flagship event a world record-breaking hopscotch course.

Making the course

Buying the amount of chalk needed to create 6.7 kilometres of hopscotch proved to be infeasible, so the students decided to make their own chalk using a solution of cornstarch and water.

"We ordered 75 pounds of cornstarch and we did a bunch of math because we're engineers and we assumed that was going to be enough," Ozgo said.

"But turns out we're not the best engineers because we were about 250 pounds off with our estimate."

But Walmart only sold cornstarch in small quantities. Ozgo and his team called every Walmart in a 16-kilometre radius, but it still wasn't enough. Eventually they found a restaurant depot that sold in bulk, and they bought the last 200 pounds (91 kilograms) at once. 

They then 3D-printed 31 stamps created by a mechanical engineering student, and attached memory foam to act as a sponge. Volunteers then dipped the stamps in the cornstarch solution, and applied it to the ground about 23,000 times to make all the hopscotch squares.

The squares were printed on their campus's Pi Mile — a 3.14-mile course — with some nearby paths in the centre of campus to make the final stretch.

The students 3D-printed stamps, which they dipped in a cornstarch solution to make hopscotch squares. (Tyler Schott)

The next step — or hop — for the group was to actually go through the course.  This meant actually hopping, skipping and jumping across the 6.75-kilometre hopscotch course. Ozgo estimates this took about 15,000 hops. 

Student Ashleigh Henning, who masterminded the whole operation, practiced her hopscotch technique for several days before the big event.

"You really use one leg more than the other, and I couldn't figure out how to be an ambidextrous hopper," the first-year biochemistry major told As It Happens in a text message. "Calves aside, it was awesome."

Ozgo says hopping over a certain distance is a lot more energy-expensive than running. So he and the other participants had to conserve the amount of energy they used. 

"Fortunately, Guinness did not make us hop all the way back. That would have been a long course."

Students hop along their nearly seven-kilometre hopscotch course. (Tyler Schott)

Ozgo plans to step down from leading the club next year to provide opportunities for younger students. But he says that "from every year on, we want to create a new Guinness World Record or break an existing record that we've set."

So far, they've talked about creating the world's largest paint by numbers, or playing the world's largest game of Twister.

For now, though, the students are happy to enjoy their new world record.

"I'm so fortunate to share the world record with almost 30 of Georgia Tech's best students," Henning said.

Written and produced by Aloysius Wong.

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