Geometry Shapes Playground Safety

Overview How safe are our neighborhood playgrounds? Using the latest statistics from the National Program for Playground Safety, students discover that most of the nation's playgrounds rate only a C. High schoolers observe and report on children at local playgrounds. They research the Internet for safety tips and checklists. Then, they share their word-processed pamphlets, flyers or computer slide shows with high school peers and children from a neighborhood day care center. Demonstrating the role of geometry in construction, students design, sketch and choose recycled materials to build 3-D models. They also use computer software to draw virtual playgrounds and present these products to students and community leaders during Playground Safety Week and at a school based learning festival.

Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Observe & report on local playground behavior & equipment.
Research Internet for safety tips, checklists & guidelines.
Prepare & word process playground safety tips & computer slide show.
Review basic geometry to find perimeters, areas, volumes of polygons & surface areas of playground related shapes.
Research how architectural design affects playground equipment..
Outline design aspects of safer playground models.
Use recycled materials to construct 3-D playground models.
Prepare to present models & safety tips at school based learning festival.
Schedule playground safety sessions with high school class & local day care center.
Visit high school class & day care center to present safety tips.
Explain practical application of geometry theorems to high school class.
Develop plan to regularly inspect local playgrounds for safety conditions.
During Playground Safety Week, present computer slide show to peers, children enrolled in day care & after school programs, families & friends.
Invite parks & recreation department personnel and key community leaders to learning festival.
Invite expert to address playground designs & safety.
Research certification process of SAFE playground educators.
Research careers & job opportunities as architectural designers & surveyors.
Discuss how civil engineers build playground equipment & how geometry relates to its installation.
Discuss roles of building & construction inspectors in approving new playgrounds.
Research background & requirements of recreation workers.

Learning Standards Math

Collect, organize & describe data.
Construct, read & interpret data.
Apply knowledge of measurement in the construction of two & three-dimensional figures.

Learning Standards Science

Connect study of science & technology to a variety of career opportunities.
Communicate results obtained from research through models & illustrations.
Use proper technologies to present information effectively.

Learning Standards English Language Arts

Make effective presentations.
Understand & use the writing process effectively.
Use various formats & technology to complete & enhance work.
Use telecommunications to share information & ideas.

School to Career Competencies

Collect, Organize & Analyze Information.
Identify & Solve Problems.
Use Technology.
Manage Time.
Initiate & Complete Projects.
Understand All Aspects of the Industry.
Interact with Others & Act Professionally.

Assessment Teachers and students follow national standards in ongoing assessment of playground equipment, questions on playground safety, governmental regulations, and student designed and executed models. They also form response groups to evaluate products and presentations while regularly reflecting on sharing sessions. Teacher evaluates students' 3-D models for practical applications of geometric theorems and understandings of geometric applications and theorems such as the Pythagorean Theorem, axis or lines of symmetry, and the constant of proportionality.

Software or Materials Used Students use graphic calculator to draw geometric figures and use integrated software: Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint and Excel) for reports and presentations. They also use Internet to search designs and agencies that promote playground safety

Web Sites Student List of Safe Playground Web Sites

Keywords Service Learning, Playground Safety, Guidelines for Playground Safety Compliance, Playground Fact Sheet, Playground Safety Check List, Playground Safety Tips; Safe Playground Equipment

Final Words Students play major roles in promoting community safety when they:

  • Help neighbors recognize potential playground dangers.
  • Identify the most common playground problems.
  • Explain how to fix them.
  • Emphasize the importance of playground supervision.
  • Share tips on how to develop "SAFE" playgrounds.

Teacher Tip The 3-D playground model helps students understand how mathematics, especially geometry, applies to architectural designs in building skyscrapers and other structures.

E-mail contact Christina Yee

Teacher Bio Christina Yee, a bilingual science, math and computer technology teacher at Charlestown High School, has received 2 grants from the Schott Gender Equity Mini-Grant. She and her students have participated in Jump Start Technology mini courses through a Verizon EdLink Grant with Bunker Hill Community College. Christina is a certified Microsoft Office User Specialist and also a Cisco Networking Academy instructor. Top priorities for this teacher: 1. Prepare bilingual students with technology skills essential for post-secondary education success. 2. Encourage them to pursue science and technology careers. 3. Demonstrate how to actively contribute to the community.

Subject Areas Math, Science, English Language Arts, Technology

Grade Levels 9 -12

Students Bilingual students, non bilingual students, children from day care center

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