A playground is a place where students can have a break from school but what if a playground could be a place of learning? Students in Ms. Edwards’ fifth grade math class designed their very own playgrounds. They measured out the area for monkey bars, balance beams, sandboxes, climbing walls, and picnic tables. By measuring out the Ezra playground, students got a sense of how to design their very own. The project aimed to not just teach students about area but allow them to have fun while doing it.
When they finished measuring the playground it seemed like all work and no play. Some students sketched their creations on graph paper, while others punched numbers on calculators. The assignment called for a design no larger than 25 feet in width and 19 feet in length. The students’ playground designs replaced a standard test on area. So students made sure that their designs were perfect.
The fifth graders were excited to discuss their playgrounds. Ella’s project will feature a playground with a lot of picnic tables and lots of colors. Another student, Sarah, was more than happy to discuss her plans which involve a lot of “climbing stuff” and only a few picnic tables. Ella giggled, “How will anyone be able to sit down at the playground?”
While this is a math assignment, students were allowed to channel their creativity. Students got to color in their designs and even got to name their playground.
When discussing the project with Ms. Edwards, it was more than just math. She talked about how “knowing formulas is important but does not necessarily prepare you for your future.” You have to be able to apply your skills which is why she “impresses on her students the importance of not just skill and drill, but also application.”
This playground assignment will also incorporate the use of their skills in geography and language arts.
For geography, they will be including a compass and a legend on their blueprints. The students will conclude their project with a written paragraph summarizing their playground design. This paragraph will include why they chose their design, what equipment they used, how much square feet, and how many students they could fit on their playground.