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Driving Question: 

How do I develop a playground for a school that has none?

Exploratory, Math
Grade 7
Students were challenged to design a playground for an actual school in Nairobi, Kenya. Students had to work around challenges that the school faced including, flooding, and that part of the school is also located on a hill. Students also had to select supplies that were easily available for students to purchase there, make sure the design was solid, and have a feasible budget. Students shared their design with their classes and with the school in Nairobi as well. Some students also created an Exploratory to help raise money needed for the project. 
Student Products
  • Partner with the school to generate appropriate ideas for the playground.
  • Design a playground blueprint and share with class and partner school.
  • Hold a fundraiser for the playground.
Teacher Reflection

"Looking back on the experience, I learned that students given a task that they feel passionate about will take it over and grow in ways that are pretty amazing. The students were taking the task in so many different directions that all worked together quite well. Some students used google earth and found a hardware store, and were working on how to get the supplies in to the school, while others worked on finding out how to source used tires, how to calculate areas of tires in order to figure out how much paint to purchase. It was really incredible the amount of math they were doing that was beyond what I would normally teach them in a unit. It was awesome!

One of the things I’ve learned is, I need to honor this time to allow students to work in this way more often. Finding authentic opportunities to use math to solve problems in a way that matters to someone else in the world is really incredible. The kids were taking it to another level and I could have easily given them more time to develop their plans. This will shape my work next year by inspiring me to try this again." - Ginger Habel


Ginger Habel