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## Playing with Playground Design

By Erin Jacobs, October 31, 2007

• Elementary School

### Category

• School Design

• Arts
• Mathematics
• Technology

### Lesson Time

Two 60 minute class periods

### Introduction

Students will explore the role of play in community architecture.  Together, groups will design, test, and build model play spaces for local neighborhoods.

### Objectives

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

### Materials

• 9x12 paper for base
• assorted colored paper strips
• folding tool
• Elmer’s glue
• paper folding techniques chart
• scissors
• hole punches
• samples of playgrounds
• interview questionnaire

### Vocabulary

• 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

### Procedures

• to assume the role of designers and architects to create models of playspaces
• to deepen understanding of  the role of play in community.
1.  Ask students to study their take-home interviews.  How did the needs/ wants of the adult differ from the needs/wants of the child?  How can both needs be met in a good recreational design? Forming Expectations: 1.  Group students into building teams and ask groups to consider what a good design and model will consist of.  Each group should state their design problem (For example: to create a recreational space and/or structure that will meet _____________ need for a community) and three criteria for success. Building team meeting: 1.  Each team will complete an organizer for their building (client, need, proposed solution).  Groups should list all clients, needs and proposed solutions from their interviews. Group construction time: 1.  Each group will select materials and begin work on their collaborative design.  Students should be reminded that their final models should be portable for group critiques and display (mounted on paper or built in components). 2.  Circulate and support students will structural challenges as necessary. Wrap-Up: 1.  Post team meeting notes (design plans with client, need, proposed solution) and ask students to match models with design plans. 2.  Each group should present their design briefly and describe how they met the design needs of their clients to create a recreational space and/or structure.

### Assessment

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?
Self Rating Scale: Process I developed my idea for this problem by interviewing, experimenting, and planning. 1     2     3     4      5 Product I used materials and techniques effectively to communicate my idea. 1    2    3      4      5 Originality I interviewed, experimented, and collaborated to create an original solution. 1    2     3    4      5 Teacher Assessment Planning: 5 - Purposefully tried ideas and approaches, demonstrated extensive planning, executed a plan to create a solution 4 - Investigated sufficient ideas and approaches, demonstrated sufficient planning, created a solution 3 - Tried some ideas and approaches, demonstrated some planning, created a partially successful solution 2 - Tried few or no ideas and approaches, little experimentation or planning, incomplete solution 1 - No evidence of investigation, idea development, experimentation or planning, no solution attempted Originality: 5 - High levels of questioning and problem solving, generated multiple solutions 4 - Sufficient questioning and problem solving, generated sufficient solutions 3 - Some questioning and problem solving evident, partially developed solutions 2 - Minimal effort in developing questions and solutions, minimal effort given to developing new ideas 1- No evidence of originality or idea development Product: 5 - Exceeds expectations in technique, idea development, and craftsmanship 4 - Demonstrates good technique and use of materials, well crafted, and expresses ideas clearly 3 - Shows use of some techniques, adequate craftsmanship 2 - Shows very few uses of techniques, poor craftsmanship 1 - Shows no use of techniques, poor craftsmanship, does not communicate ideas clearly

### 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.