Engage: What object, event, or questions will the teacher use to trigger the students' curiosity and engage them in the concepts?
1. Read the book My Dream Playground by Kate M. Becker. Explain that students will be designing a new playground for their school. Ask, "What are some important criteria for this playground?" (safety, size, budget, consideration of Florida's heat)
2. Provide the criteria/constraints for the task:
- Students will work in teams to design a two-dimensional model of a playground.
- The design must include an open area for free play, a jungle gym, a fence, and at least one bench.
- The design must use adjacent rectangles. Calculation of the area and perimeter of the design is required.
- Students must consider the physical properties of the materials when choosing the jungle gym, fence, and bench(es).
- Teams will have a total budget of $4000.
- Each team member must contribute to the final product.
3. Ask: "How does a two-dimensional model differ from a three-dimensional model?" Discuss. Provide an example, such as a drawing of a square and a 3D cube. Explain that engineers create blue prints, or two-dimensional models, when they design something they are going to build. Discuss the difference between the blue prints and a 3D model of the design (if possible, show example). Explain that drawings follow a scale since they are a smaller version of the real thing. Tell students that they will be using centimeter grid paper to create their design, but each centimeter will represent a meter of the "real" playground.
4. Ask: "How will you use math skills in your design of a new playground?" Discuss. Guide students in considering how they can use area, perimeter, and computation strategies (adding, subtracting, and multiplying) in their design and in their budget. Review the formulas for area and perimeter, if needed.
5. Ask: "What science knowledge will be helpful in your design of a new playground?" Discuss. Guide students in considering Florida's weather and the physical properties of the materials they will use. Discuss the different materials that can be used for fencing, benches, and the jungle gym. Have students reflect on the materials' properties and ability to conduct heat. Display and provide students with a copy of the Physical Properties of Materials table (attached); review the different properties that will be considered in this task. Make sure students understand how to read the table; review the key.
6. Review criteria for the project and go over the rubric (attached) that will be used to assess their success.
7. "Do you have a dream playground you can share with your team?" Give students five minutes to imagine their design and record their thoughts on a sticky note or index card (they can write or draw ideas). Note: This time should be for independent thinking so each student has ideas to contribute to the team.
8. Divide the students into groups. Assign roles for each group member:
- Group Leader: Maintains time on task by asking effective questions (not the "boss")
- Materials Manager: Gathers materials, ensures materials are used correctly, ensures clean-up
- Speaker: Presents design to the class
- Recorder: Ensure budget is filled out correctly, maintains records so the speaker knows what to present
Give the group leader a copy of the budget (attached), the criteria for the playground, and centimeter grid paper. The students will begin to brainstorm and plan the shape of the playground and its fencing. Remind students to listen to each person's idea before they begin to draw their design. They should try to include ideas from each team member if possible.
9. Ask guiding questions as students begin creating their design:
- What is the total area of your playground? How did you determine the area?
- What is the cost to sod and/or use concrete to cover the playground?
- What is the perimeter of the entire playground? How did you determine the perimeter?
- How much will fencing the playground cost?
- What materials did you choose for your fencing? Why?
10. Approve each team's plan for the shape and fencing of the playground. The recorder should record the details of the area, perimeter, cost of sod and/or concrete, and cost of fencing on the budget sheet (students should work together to complete the calculations). Answer questions and provide clarification as needed.
Explore: What will the students do to explore the concepts and skills being developed through the lesson?
1. Review the criteria and constraints for the task. Introduce the next phase in which students add playground equipment and benches. Remind students to consider the Physical Properties of Materials table when choosing the jungle gym and benches for their playground. They should also be reminded to consider their budget.
2. Have students finalize their design and complete the calculations for their budget. Ask guiding questions:
- Does your design meet the criteria?
- Have you stayed within the budget in your design?
- Has each person contributed to the design?
- Did you consider the physical properties of the materials when you chose the fencing, playground equipment, and benches?
3. Allow teams to present their designs. Encourage students to ask questions or provide helpful feedback that could help the presenting team improve their design.
4. Based on their self-reflection and feedback from the presentation, teams will now improve their original designs. Encourage students to use as much of their budget as possible (without going over) and to consider ways that they can improve their playground (more free space or sod, different materials for equipment, overall shape, etc.) Ask guiding questions, such as:
- Did you decide on a wooden, metal, or plastic bench? Explain your team's choice. What are the benefits of a _____ bench? What are disadvantages? (ex. Wooden is less expensive, but could get splinters; metal will last longer; plastic would get too hot)
- What was the total amount spent? Were you over or under budget? Explain what you did if your group was over/under budget and why.