After weeks of brainstorming and collaboration students presented their playground ideas to Mrs. Robertson, a founder of Whole Mind Design. Mrs. Robertson sat down with small groups of students to give specific and meaningful feedback.
“I really like your park layout and I wonder how you could make sure your park is safe for your users,” she probed. “Yea! We should add wood chips under the swings and monkey bars so there is something soft for people to land on!” replied Cornell.
Building on Mrs. Robertson’s feedback, students collaborated with their classmates to create a second iteration of their design to present to our next expert—Mrs. Kyle. Though their creativity shined through their efforts, Mrs. Kyle helped the students understand that the water slides, roller coasters, and merry-go-rounds were not realistic or in our budget! Instead, she suggested they focus on fixing and reusing what was already in the park. Because our users voted for the playground to have “rainbow colors”, Mrs. Kyle informed students she would pick up paint and other materials necessary to make their designs come to life.
While Mrs. Kyle went to Home Depot, students took her feedback and completed their final design of the park. They made sure their designs included feedback from all of our experts.
A few days later, Mr. Charlie and Mr. TJ from Sit on it Detroit came to our classrooms to explain the process it would take to fix the park and make our designs a reality! It was exciting to see how, with the help of Whole Mind Design, we created an authentic hands-on learning situation that provided our students with something important and meaningful for them to think about—improving a playground they discovered. So far, this expedition has engaged our students in self-discovery, thinking of wonderful ideas, and collaborative learning. Students thought about what was important to them individually, shared their ideas with classmates and got feedback from some design experts. Together with the new information they learned, they’ve created a new and improved playground for themselves and their community!