So some of you know that I was asked to add first and second graders to my STEM lab rotations.
Y’all I know nothing about those age groups so I have relied on friends to get me going. My daughter also encourages me since she taught first grade a year or so ago. First graders are just full of life and funny and they can build a lot of things. Second graders can do a little more, as I am discovering. So, recently we tackled a Playground Challenge!
Before we go any further let me tell you that this STEM challenge came from my good friend, Renee, at Science Schoolyard!
This challenge came from a Back to School pack!
We tackled this in six groups. Every group had the same materials and each group built a different playground apparatus.
The See-Saws were really funny. First, we had to decide what that is, but some kids acted it out and they caught on quickly. The hardest part for them was making the see-saw actually move from side to side. The above model has a smiling person riding and having fun!
Look at that amazing slide. The girls in this group meticulously worked on that ladder because you have to have one! The kids were very impressed with this one. The cardboard tubes are a handy supply to collect, by the way. We use them all the time! Just ask parents to save them for you! I promise you will get tons and you will likely have to ask parents to stop sending them!
Monkey Bars were a little tricky. This group in the photo also worked hard to make that ladder. They had trouble getting the structure to stand up so they added two sets of bars together- like in an X shape. They explained that you could climb the ladder and climb around and then slide down any of the poles. Pretty genius! See all those straws? That’s another material we use all the time. Ask parents to buy you a box or a bag from the dollar store!
The swing sets were trickier to make than you would think! The frame was fairly easy- if the kids remembered to make the side legs in a triangle shape. Some tried just two poles on each side, which didn’t work. The had to add support legs for that method! Adding the strings was also hard for their little fingers. Oh, they could get them attached, but making the swing level was hard. Every group that made a swing set had a different method. The foil above is supposed to be the sand pit under the swing set.
Another building material we use all the time is craft sticks. I buy them in large quantities and then we reuse them! Like these:
I am guessing that the climbing dome was the hardest structure for them. We looked at photos of a dome or jungle gym and they tried so hard to make one. The one in the photo above is the closest anyone came to a dome shape that you could climb on. The foil around the top of it was a terrific idea!
My second graders LOVED this challenge. Go visit Science Schoolyard and check out her STEM and science activities. Your kids will love building the best playground ever!
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