Playground fun now also teaching science lessons
There is science to slides, swings and merry-go rounds.
Dublin Engineering Academy students last week ventured to Coffman Park to study the science that guides playground equipment with the goal of explaining those principles on signs to be posted at the playgrounds.
The exercise is part of an aim to get students thinking scientifically and creatively with problem-based learning, said Kimberly Clavin, Dublin City School Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Initiatives manager.
"You pose a real-life problem and students have to solve it," she said.
Academy students were given specific instructions before being unleashed upon the playgrounds last week.
"I told them to go play in the park and see what physical principles are in the playground," teacher Greg King said.
Students took notes after pounding on drums to see how sound works and going down the slides to examine friction and gravity.
The merry-go-round offered lessons in centripetal force.
"There are way more potential physical principles than we can get in one class," King said.
The class has partnered with Dublin to provide signs at the Coffman Park playgrounds that explain the science behind the playground equipment.
"If you can incorporate some education in play, it's just another benefit of the park itself," said Dublin Parks and Open Space Director Fred Hahn.
The city will contribute to the production of the signs that take about six weeks to make, Hahn said.
Ohio State University's College of Engineering also will assist with the project as David Tomasko, dean of undergraduate education, and Director or STEM Initiatives Howard Greene help students figure out physical principles, Clavin said.
"We haven't done anything like this, but the academy is pretty new," King said of the project.
"This is explicit teaching of others. You come to understand principles when you have to explain something to someone else."
Students will work on the signs over the next few months, along with other lessons from the Dublin Engineering Academy.
"We'll have them come up with explanations," King said, noting information will have to apply to both 7-year-olds who play and parents who watch.
Another class will work on graphics for the signs, King said.
The 3-year-old academy offers class two-and-a-half periods each day in engineering education at Coffman High School to juniors and seniors from Dublin's three high schools and Metro High School.
The class is pretty evenly divided.
"We have football players, All-Ohio track kids and band kids."