DETROIT (AP) _ Sixth-graders at a suburban school stretched their math skills while creating a 64-pound ball of rubber bands. They called it ''M.C. Bander.''

Cami Penegor, a math teacher at Pierce Middle School in Wayne County's Redford Township, got the ball rolling last fall as a class project. She asked her 140 students to come up with 1 million rubber bands.

They reached only 7.7423 percent of that goal. But the project nevertheless began taking on a life of its own as the 77,423 rubber bands were knotted together and wrapped around a golf ball.

''Having M.C. around made math easier and a lot more interesting,'' said Jenny Priskorn, 12. ''You could imagine better just how big numbers really get.''

Penegor said she used the ball to teach everything from geometry to metric measurement. ''You'd never think a bunch of rubber bands would make a difference in a classroom, but M.C. Bander bonded us together this year,'' she said.

The ball will be donated next month to the Gallery of Unusual Pastimes in Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

''It's fabulous,'' museum spokesman Edward Meyer said Wednesday. ''Something as perfectly normal as rubber bands has become a piece of art in the hands of school kids. We want the world to see this.''