Playing with Playground Design
By Erin Jacobs, October 31, 2007
- Elementary School
- School Design
Two 60 minute class periods
Students will explore the role of play in community architecture. Together, groups will design, test, and build model play spaces for local neighborhoods.
Language Arts Level II, Standard 8: Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes 1. Contributes to group discussions 2 Asks questions in class 3. Listens to classmates and adults (e.g., does not interrupt, faces the speaker, asks questions, summarizes or paraphrases to confirm understanding, gives feedback, eliminates barriers to effective listening) Mathematics Level II, Standard 5: Understands the basic and advanced properties of the concept of geometry Benchmark 1: Knows the basic geometric language for describing and naming shapes (trapezoid, parallelogram, sphere, cube Arts Art Connections: Level II, Standard 1: Understands the connections between various art forms and other disciplines. Benchmark 3: Knows the similarities and differences in the meaning of common terms used in various arts (eg., form, line, contrast) Working With Others Standard 1 Level IV: Contributes to the overall effort of the group 1. Knows the behaviors and skills that contribute to team effectiveness 2. Works cooperatively in a group to to complete tasks, achieve goals, and solve problems Listening and Speaking
Students will be able to:
- describe the role of architects and designers
- describe the role of play in community
- assess pros and cons of current play structure
- interview and design collaboratively to meet identified community needs/wants
- construct models using basic geometric forms such as cones, cylinders, sphers and various prisms
Google Images-Boundless Playgrounds
- 9x12 paper for base
- assorted colored paper strips
- folding tool
- Elmer’s glue
- paper folding techniques chart
- hole punches
- samples of playgrounds
- interview questionnaire
- recreational architecture: the design and planning of recreational spaces and equipment
- pleat: any of various types of fold formed by doubling material back upon itself and then pressing or stitching or otherwise fixing into shape
- three-dimensional: including length, width, and depth or height
- looping: a repeating series of circular shapes
- curling: shaping material into a curved shape
- fringing: the cutting of the edges of material to give it a slightly ruffled appearance
- universal design: the creation of products and environments meant to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible
DAY ONE Introduce lesson: 1. Say, “Today we will review types of architecture and learn more about ‘play’ in our community. We will be exploring recreational architecture by looking at pictures and thinking about our favorite places to have fun. We will also be working in teams to interview members of our student community about where they like to play. We will use this information to design and build models of play spaces.” Brainstorm: 1. Say, “Think of a time when you visited a shared community space and had fun playing in that space. Was there a structure? Were other people present? What made that place fun for many people? Who do you think created this space and how did they do it?” 2. Students will sketch their space and then record a description of sensory information they remember from that space (smells, tastes, sounds, textures, sights). Partner Share/ Sketch: 1. Students will work in pairs to share descriptions of their places. Each pair should pay attention to similarities and differences in their descriptions. Students should record any patterns they find in their descriptions. Ask students to consider how they can take the best of both of these places and create a new place. Partner sketch. 2. Teams should share sketches as a large group. Paper-folding workshop: 1. Explain that we will be working with the information they have gathered in teams as well as interviews they will be collecting for a take-home assignment to design "ideal playspaces" that can be enjoyed by a community of people. We will be using paper folding techniques to create models. 2. Demonstrate and practice pleating, folding, curling, fringing, and modeling basic geometric forms. Make images of play equipment available for students to reference. Discuss the forms that are being combined to create each structure. Allow time for independent practice with paper cutting/folding techniques. Re-group/Close: 1. Display a chart labeled "Play is. . .". Ask students to think back to their brainstorming and partner sharing to come up with a definition. Students should write the definitions on post-its to add to the chart. Take-home Assignment: 1. Students should conduct a simple interview about play spaces (see handout) with another student and an adult they know well. The student could be a younger/older brother or sister, a reading buddy, or a friend. The adult could be a parent, grandparent, caregiver, mentor, teacher, etc. Both the student and the adult should be asked the same interview questions. DAY TWO Introduction: Review learning objectives :
- to assume the role of designers and architects to create models of playspaces
- to deepen understanding of the role of play in community.
RECREATIONAL DESIGN CHALLENGE Self-Assessment:
- Describe three possible solutions your group considered. Explain how you arrived at your final solution?
- List three things you needed to understand in order to create a solution?
- Describe the steps you took to create your final model?
- What is the most important thing you learned by solving this problem?
Enrichment Extension Activities
Considering public places for "play" encourages students to think about the various ages, abilities, and interests of a community of people. In designing for a wide audience, students are forced to analyze the needs and wants of many people and synthesize components into a collaborative solution. "Play" is also a universally important part of communities and cultures around the world. Students could expand their understanding of play through the study of games and traditions of other cultures and times.