Weekly STEM Time Creates Playground Prototypes
Barbara Misday October 9, 2019
Those who are part of our school community know, our school is working towards becoming a STEM Accredited school, which in the Kindergarten – 4th Grade means that we have a multi-aged STEM block weekly, based on our House designations.
We began this year’s explorations with team building STEM activities. The activities focused on problem solving, collaboration and cooperation. The students did very well working together and had so much fun exploring solutions to problems during the process.
To celebrate our revered new playgrounds at both campuses, the 2nd – 4th Grade cohorts spent the last three weeks creating prototype playgrounds in STEM. The project began with each group developing a plan and a budget for their playground. The set budget of $240.00 included the cost of purchasing and installing various types of playground equipment and decorations for their site. The featured selections included a slide ($37), swings ($25), play structure ($30), see saw ($42), spring ride ($45), basketball court ($50), merry go round ($22), monkey bars ($30), sand pit ($27) tree souse ($30), climbing structure ($54), kickball/baseball field ($44). If a group exceeded their budget, or wanted to include something not mentioned on the budget list, they had to present their rationale to the project foreman (the teacher), to receive approval and/or a budget increase. The students used the skills of cooperation and created wonderful blueprints for their projects. They even reviewed the actual blueprints and specs for the playground at Markell Hall.
To prepare for construction, the students had to think about how their project would layout, exactly what they wanted in an ideal playground, and what materials they would need for their prototypes. The students had to complete Phase 1 of this project (the plan, budget, and materials list) before they could begin Phase 2 (the engineering and construction portion). This project was super exciting and sparked the imagination of our students! Their playground creations were amazing and demonstrated out-of-the-box thinking!