This might be helpful since the class has been ongoing for awhile.
Each student receives a small plastic bag (sandwich bag) with a small cube of
clay. Their assignment is to divide the clay into three sections and keep
this in the various stages of clay - plastic (moist but not slip), leather
hard (cracks if bent) and bone dry. They take this home and keep the
conditions under control and then return the three sections of clay on
Friday. Most were able to get all three stages, but then there are those who
forget and everything becomes bone dry (since the pieces are so small)
These are usually the same students who forget to moisten and enclose their
work in plastice from one class period to the next and wonder why everything
is so dry, cracks or the small pieces break off.