MENDON – Superintendent Maureen Cohen and Miscoe Hill Middle School Principal Jennifer Mannion share that about 140 sixth-grade students are playing an active role in the reimaging of the Little Little Learners Child Development Center playground.
Miscoe Hill Middle School is currently participating in the PBLWorks School Leadership Network, sponsored by the One8 Foundation and the sixth-grade Grade Project-Based Learning Project is an outcome of that partnership.
Sixth-grade teachers Jeremy Mulligan and Kevin McNeil collaborated with Assistant Principal Nick Cuomo, and identified the playground as a possible Project Based Learning effort. Project Based Learning encourages use of acquired or emerging skills to solve a meaningful problem. Students’ personal connection to the project creates a greater investment and authenticity within the students’ work, and helps them understand how they can apply classroom concepts to the real world.
The playground for this project sits on an irregularly-shaped plot, and is in need of repair. Students used the mathematical skills that they have acquired to deconstruct the plot into more common shapes, such as triangles and parallelograms to more accurately determine the plot area.
The students then used their findings to begin designing the playground. They considered materials for the ground, calculated the area of a sandbox, and decided which parts of the playground area would be designated for various age groups.
Students displayed their proposals during a gallery walk, and presented them to Little Learners administration and staff members for their consideration.
The playground project aligns directly with the District’s Portrait of a Learner, which encourages students to innovate, collaborate, and communicate, and to use their talents to contribute positively to the world around them.
“These students are totally engaged in this project. They have great ideas, and have asked a lot of impressive questions,” Superintendent Cohen said. ‘These are the skills we strive to build through Portrait of a Learner, and the skills we want them to develop for life beyond high school. Most significantly, this approach to instruction brought authentic learning to life for our participating students and I want to thank our teachers for diving into our project-based learning pathway with eagerness and enthusiasm.”