The Playground

By DeRita, Paul | Technology and Children, September 2006 | Go to article overview

The Playground


DeRita, Paul, Technology and Children


The playground is an opportune technological wonderland that in often inspire children to think creatively about the human-built devices that provide such fun and excitement. Most children can relate to the amazement of being able to lift a friend with ease on a seesaw or feeling their inertia on a merry-go-round.

The greatest technology education activities are those that are firmly rooted in the real world and provide students the opportunity to expand on their prior knowledge of the technological world around them in a fun and exciting manner.

design challenge

Students will design and build a prototype of an attractive and safe playground activity or ride that includes the principles of simple machines. Pulleys, gears, levers and wedges are all acceptable solution components for this challenge. The students should be encouraged to create their own innovative solution to the problem. They should attempt to create a ride or activity that is interesting and exciting to them. As the architect and designer of this project, they must create a working prototype of their design solution.

Typically, this primary step of prototyping will reveal design flaws that will have to be addressed throughout the activity. Always remember that the main reason that we build a prototype is to identify any problems before large amounts of resources are used up needlessly and, therefore, prototype failures are expected. The design process is often described as a "LOOP" because the process often needs to be repeated several times before a final solution is found.

student task

Make a prototype of your design using simple materials such as paper, straws, glue, tape, and cardboard to test your design.

Make a working model of your final design. …

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