Any chance of the following Skill level of the adults,
average ages, the thickness of the copper wire in thous/in, ditto the
brass, also wether its annealed or hard drawn.
What tools have you been provided with, benches, vices.
List it all in detail.
With that info from you its going to be much easier for all the
seriously experienced metal workers here to give you an answer you
can put to your class.
It seems youve been given an almost impossible scenario to work
Who organised this? Some office worker? It couldnt have been an
experienced jeweller or silver smith.
To get back to your question, the simplest link is an “8” shape with
the curved part hammered so that its twice as wide as its thick. That
will be strong enough in 1/16th thick brass. Copper will need to be
3/32 in minimum.
Youll need at least 8oz hammers and a decently supported anvil or
"T" stake held in a leg vice.
All clean and shiney so the work isnt marred by poorly faced tools.
The last thing you want to do is to make the chains for these folk.