The children brought their personal experiences of playing on playgrounds to this activity as well as using the internet and books to research the topic and get inspiration.
We looked at the materials that playground structures were made from and sorted them into temporary or permanent categories. From this, the children decided they wanted to design structures that would be permanent or last a long time.
Designing a free-standing paper playground was a S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Maths) challenge that the children enjoyed. Their task was to create a playground that was able to stand by itself using a piece of card and recycled paper. It was great to see children who had problem solved a way to have their playground standing up sharing their ideas with their classmates.
The children were inventive with the way they used the paper to create tunnels, slides, ropes, and other objects for their playgrounds. The next step was to simulate how the playground was played on using lego and Duplo figures. The children also created paper figures of their own. Doing this helped the children determine the strengths and weaknesses of their design. They were able to identify how they could make improvements.
I think I need a rope so you can get to the top of the mountain to slide down. Jack
My tunnel needs to be bigger so you can get through it. Dorian
I need a ladder to get up the slide. Henry
Geometry skills were put to use with the creation of birds-eye views of playgrounds. They were able to identify what shapes they could see in the junior playground and reproduce them in their designs.
Who knew a five-year-old could do this?
Creating playground dioramas in a shoebox provided many opportunities for problem-solving. An example of this was the experimentation with different sized objects in the diorama. This was because we went outside and observed that objects in the background are smaller than those in the foreground.
Painting the foreground and background of the dioramas was serious business.
All of the research, discussion, designing, problem-solving, and experimentation meant that the children were able to contribute and be active participants in the Poihipi Makeover. The children in Room 11 were also able to showcase their playground designs on Celebration Day when the community was invited to come and view their work. They were able to explain in detail what was in their models and what it was used for.
Our playground designs were proudly presented to our school community.
Keywords: inquiry, playground design, material world, geometry