Grade 8 Students Use STEM Skills to Enhance Linden’s Rooftop Playground While Earning High School Credit
By STEM Teacher, Beth Alexander
This year, the Grade 8 classes are taking a reach-ahead course, earning a high-school credit for TIJ1O: Exploring Technological Design. The course encompasses many facets of purposeful manufacturing, including working with clients and making prototype models.
This fall, teams of Grade 8s set about to make a meaningful change in our school: improving the rooftop playground. Starting by interviewing their junior school clients and conducting observations during recess, students then set about creating proposals for new structures, including creating CAD models of their proposed designs. They then created slideshow presentations for their clients, took their questions, and incorporated feedback.
The next step involved creating blueprints and budgeting out materials. Students needed to be creative in order to meet the constraints of budget and deadlines, and opted to re-purpose materials whenever possible.
Once our lumber order arrived, the heavy lifting began, with teams measuring, sawing, drilling, and making necessary revisions as they went, such as strengthening joints to allow structures to withstand heavy play. Although the weather was sometimes cold on the roof, the teams persevered! In the end, the classes created six wonderful new additions to the playground: a tent, a play "storefront", a shorter-sized basketball net, a chalkboard, a storage bench with awning, and a soccer net.
Just before the winter holiday, we celebrated with a grand reveal! The junior school excitedly met with each team and was introduced to their new playthings. "This is so fun!" exclaimed Ava, JK. "I was really proud to do this," said Alice, grade 8.
Thank you for all of your hard work, Grade 8!