Grade 5 Hosts First External Expert Since 2020

Sep 1, 2021 | All School, Blog, Lower School News

Contributed by Head of Grade 5 Emily Edwards Like all other grades in the Lower School, Grade 5 started the year with an Inquiry Based Learning unit around playground design. This unit required the students to recall the math concepts they learned in Grade 4 to design a playground. The students began by reflecting on playgrounds they have visited. Then, they created a list of things that they liked and didn’t like about them. Classes looked at photos and videos of famous playgrounds around the world, which led to a brainstorm for initial ideas for the students’ playground design. Using the Spidea Web from Mount Vernon’s Field Guide, students brainstormed their ideas, and categorized them, too.
The next day, students were placed on design teams and learned that they would be designing a playground for the Lower Campus turf field. As a grade level, we traveled to the field to find out the area of the green space and observe the constraints of our designs. Teams then connected to share their Spidea Webs and create a new Spidea Web as a team. As a follow up, on Friday, August 20, Grade 5 walked to Hammond Park for an expedition. The students observed the playground space and compared what they saw, thought, and wondered to the photos and videos we viewed in class. They also thought about the design, color scheme, and layout of the playgrounds. In addition, students traveled to the Frontier on Lower Campus with Science Lab teacher, Eileen Fennelly, to observe the current playground on campus.

Using all that they had gleaned from their observations, research, and expeditions, students collaborated with their group to:

  • Make a spreadsheet of the items they would like to purchase for their playground design while keeping their total cost under $20,000.
  • Sketch their playground design.
  • Draw a scale model of their playground on graph paper.

After sharing their designs with their teachers, they transferred their model to a larger scale drawing. This included:

  • An outline of the playground equipment, the dimensions of the equipment, and overall cost.
  • Their total playground budget.

Friday, August 27, design teams presented their playground design in their homerooms. Then, they participated in a Gallery Walk among the five Grade 5 classrooms to provide glows and grows feedback to the other groups.

Mr. Jeffrey Allen, uncle of Grade 5 teacher Kirsten Allen and Landscape Architect, joined Grade 5 as their first MVXpert in their gallery walk to give feedback to each design team. Allen recently designed the playground at the Trinity School in Atlanta. He is also the first external expert to be welcome onto campus since March 2020.

Are you interested in being an MVXpert? Let the School know here!