Proof of learning in playground fun

Holy Innocents Croydon students designing playgrounds as part of a science unit on built environments. Photo: Gene Ramirez

Holy Innocents Croydon student Alessandro designs a playground for Science. Photo: Gene Ramirez

Holy Innocents Catholic Primary Croydon students were inspired by their newly refurbished playground to build their own models as part of a Science unit on the built environment.

Athletics tracks, pools and treehouses were among the creative additions the Year 3 and 4 students made to their designs, while others mirrored the current features of soft-fall basketball courts with closable nets and quiet play areas.

The students completed the design part of the activity for homework then built their model playgrounds in an hour at school using Lego, coloured paper, pipe-cleaners, and other craft materials – a ‘flipped classroom’ approach. The task was completed barely two weeks after the May 1 open date of their new playground. Year 6 peer support leaders worked with their groups of students in Kindergarten to Year 5 to help set rules for how the space is used.

It was good to see what they would do with creative freedom.

– Miriam Meaney

Assistant Principal and Year 4 teacher Miriam Meaney said the task was part of the working technologically outcome in the Science syllabus, which asks the students to design and make something using appropriate materials.

Holy Innocents Croydon students Emma Ji and Claire Espinoza in their playground, which was inspiration for a Science task. Photo: Gene Ramirez

Holy Innocents Croydon students Emma Ji, 8 and Claire Espinoza, 8 in their playground, which was inspiration for a Science task. Photo: Gene Ramirez

Students were asked to consider their old concrete-and-grass playground and the new one when coming up with their own designs.  “We built a lot of literacy into the task,” Mrs Meaney said. “We got them to analyse the new playground using six ‘hats’ – the facts, what you liked about it, the advantages, the disadvantages, what you’d add if you could, how it makes you feel, and how it came about – from the design to establishing the rules for use.

“A lot of the time we do have to keep constraints in place, so it was good to see what they would do with creative freedom.”

Year 3 student Georgia Tannous, 8, said her design included red seats around a swimming pool and hopscotch after receiving a brief from her teachers.  “They just said to make sure you have a lot of space around and consider how safe the playground would be and to have a flat and soft surface,” she said.

Year 4 student Alessandro De Franco, 9, said he used Lego to build a tree and treehouse for his model, and added a tennis court because he liked the sport. “My favourite feature is the treehouse,” he said. “It has similar features to other playgrounds – a tunnel, chairs, and flying fox. A feature I thought of on my own was this space where it’s a built area but an assembly area as well.”

Holy Innocents’ will also trial STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] experiments designed by the Board of Studies in Term 2 and beyond.

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