If you enjoy this project, then I encourage you to buy my book, Rubber Band Engineer. It's full of more awesome and original projects crafted from household hardware. You can find it wherever books are sold.
Students will make a simple mechanical hand with a trigger connected to a hinge. Once complete, students can test the ability of their hand by trying to pick up as many straws as possible. Extra class time (and there should be plenty!) can be devoted to further testing and redesigning to make the best mechanical hand possible!