Week Three Playground Research

After a challenging afternoon of communicating and working together to build a pulley system spark studio heroes were excited to begin free time on the playground when a disagreement arose. Two people were playing on the bus structure when another hero decided they would like to play there. “Well, we were here first and we prefer to play this game by ourselves”. This was met with “The spaces on our playground are for everyone, so I can play here too”. The lines had been drawn and no one wanted to budge or give up their stance. Heroes tried to negotiate saying “You can play on the bus tomorrow, we are here now” which was followed with the question “Why can’t you just use half of the bus?” Tensions began to grow as the deliberation continued without progress. In the past these moments had often led to pleas for guide intervention, heroes storming off in frustration or other emotional outbursts.

With a quick reminder from the guide, the timekeeper announced that there were now 10 minutes left of free time. “Ten minutes?! …Well half of that is 5! You all can play here for 5 minutes and then I will use the bus for 5 minutes.” “Deal! “The hero agreed and joyfully ran off. In this playground conflict the heroes stood up for what they felt was fair, they communicated clearly, they brainstormed multiple solutions and they ultimately used compromising tools they have been practicing to work through the dispute. This important social emotional work is constant in Spark Studio and will set our heroes up for success in the elementary studio and life beyond school.

Nesting heroes continue to complete computer work, predicting orbit patterns and mastering lessons on Khan Academy, Newsela and Lexia. The excitement over researching marine life and flags of South America continues to be an inspiration. The afternoons this week were filled with exploration of simple machines. The heroes were in their challenge zones, using recyclables to craft cars with working wheel and axle mechanisms. The week ended in a gorgeous day spent outdoors playing and researching playgrounds. Forts were built in the woods, teamwork utilized to push large swings, and our adventurous heroes climbed to the tops of structures. Heroes reflected on what was memorable about each park and why parks are important to a community. A hero even noted with empathy that if you didn’t have many toys a playground would be crucial for having fun! 

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