Welcome to the Sommers Class Playground!
Second graders in William O. Schaefer Elementary School teacher Jaqueline Sommers’ class worked in groups to design models of playground equipment including a slide, swings and monkey bars. K-8 Instructional Science Coach Samantha Levine developed the lesson following their science unit that focused on physical properties of matter.
To make their models, students were allowed to use straws, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, construction paper, rubber bands, masking tape and paper clips. During their brainstorm session with the classmates in their group, they had to think about properties of materials and how the material choice can cause a design to be successful or not successful. Levine gave students design criteria including that it must be a 3D model, materials used must have the same properties as the real piece of playground equipment (e.g. if they were making a slide, the model slide should have a slippery surface) so they work as intended, it has to be fun to play on and they must be able to explain and support the materials that they chose for their model.
Once students completed their slides, swings and monkey bars, they had to test it out their models. As they tested their materials, they had to answer if the material had the properties they needed and how they could see that from their results. After their experiments, each group had to think about what they learned including which materials were helpful in building their playground equipment and one material or idea that they had to change.