Before beginning this activity, collect all necessary materials and have the tickets counted out in strings of 200.
To begin, place students in groups of 2 or 3. Each group
represents a company that will make a bid to design the playground for
Animal Crackers Preschool, so group members should work
collaboratively. Assign jobs to each group member to allow for
individual responsibility and greater efficiency in completing the
activity. Possible jobs can include the following:
Member 1 is responsible for obtaining and returning necessary materials.
Member 2 is the recorder and responsible for ensuring the activity sheets are completed correctly.
Member 3 is in charge of keeping the group on task, watching the time, and ensuring all tasks are completed.
Animal Crackers Playground Activity Sheet
Pass out the Animal Crackers Playground Activity Sheet to each student, not just each group – each student
should be responsible for their own activity sheet. Allow time for
students to read over the problem on the first page and discuss with
the class ways to plan a playground. After ideas have been
brainstormed, read through the second page of the activity sheet with
students and address any questions about what needs to be accomplished.
Pay special attention to the last 3 paragraphs, in which the details of
their presentation are set out. Set clear deadlines for completing the
activity sheet and planning and making the presentations. This activity
can be completed in one period with presentations at the end of the
period. But if time permits, 2 periods is optimal – use the first for
working through the activity sheet and the second for making the
presentations to the class.
Distribute or make available all materials necessary to complete
the activity. Students should work through and complete the entire
activity sheet, including the presentation. As students are working,
circulate and assist as needed. If students struggle to find the
maximum area in Question 1, give them some guidance, such as suggesting
they make a table of the possible lengths, widths, and area. If they
change one dimension at a time incrementally, the maximum value should
become apparent. The maximum area with no equipment is 2500 ft2, which occurs when the length = width = 50 ft.
As students move on to the Question 2, emphasize they should be
using the use-area dimensions. Discuss with students why there is a
difference in the dimensions of a piece of equipment and its use area
dimensions. Help students understand that the use area includes a
buffer to allow the equipment to be used. The swings are the best
example of this because students can readily understand why extra space
is needed when they are being used.
Encourage students to communicate with one another and use the
graph paper and tickets together to more easily reach a solution. They
should explore a variety of placements of the equipment in the 50’×50’
square playground before changing the dimensions. Once they understand
why all the equipment cannot fit in the square, allow them to explore
the other dimensions. If students created a table earlier, the table
may facilitate their exploration of different playground dimensions.
Some students may elect to work directly with the graph paper
manipulatives to try to determine the largest possible area in which
all the playground equipment will fit. If they opt for this method,
make sure they use the tickets to go back and check that they have
enough fence to enclose the equipment.
Below is one solution that allows for the maximum possible
area, which has dimensions 52’×48’, but this is not the only solution.
The equipment will not fit in any of the larger possible spaces but
there is more than one arrangement that will fit in this area. If
students find an arrangement in the 52’×48’ area quickly, challenge
them to find other arrangements that will work in the same space. They
may choose to present a different arrangement based on their own
preferences for where playground equipment works best.
As students move into planning their presentations, they will
need to sketch their design on graph paper using an appropriate scale.
Discuss with students what makes a scale "appropriate." Since these
models will be presented to the class, they should be large enough for
people to see all the necessary components. They should also be careful
to use the same scale for the entire model. After completing a model of
the playground, students can use their own creativity to decide how to
present their findings to the class. Remind students to adhere to the
outline provided on the activity sheet, and that the class will act as
the playground committee.
For the presentations, provide students with a rubric. You can
create the rubric ahead of time, or create it with the class. Make sure
students have access to it so they know the required elements, which
you may also use as an assessment of the activity. Have the committee
(class) complete the rubric as peer review during each presentation.
After all groups have presented their playground plans, go over the
committees reviews and comments and have students vote on a winner. You
may wish to distribute certificates to the members of the winning