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The Workyard Kit: Teaching Science & Math Through Play


Offbeat  (tags: children, culture, education, family, ethics, interesting, society, usa )

JL
- 858 days ago - kaboom.org
How do you recreate the value of playing with sticks and dirt? When it comes to playing, industrial designer Cas Holman admits, "You really can't beat letting kids play in nature." But that hasn't stopped her from trying.



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JL A. (285)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 3:55 pm
*******************GO TO THE SITE TO SEE OTHER MARVELOUS PICTURES OF EXAMPLES***********


The Workyard Kit: Teaching science & math through play

Posted by Kerala Taylor on January 3, 2013
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Playful Learning
classroom
education
group play
imagination playground
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How do you recreate the value of playing with sticks and dirt? When it comes to playing, industrial designer Cas Holman admits, "You really can't beat letting kids play in nature." But that hasn’t stopped her from trying.

The Workyard Kit, Holman’s latest invention, riffs on the idea that “play is children’s work.” Consisting of wooden planks, ropes, pulleys, hooks and pails, the kit is designed for deeply engaging, open-ended play. Or, as Holman puts it: "cooperative, constructive imagining."

Photo by Rowa Lee, courtesy of Friends of the High Line.

Photo by Rowa Lee, courtesy of Friends of the High Line.

A key creative force behind Imagination Playground, Holman was approached by Friends of the Highline and asked to come up with a way to engage families and kids in New York City’s High Line Park, which converted an old railroad into green space. She wanted to take advantage of the narrow park’s many nooks and crannies and harness its industrial spirit.

Photo by Rowa Lee, courtesy of Friends of the High Line.

Photo by Joan Garvin, courtesy of Friends of the High Line.

And so the Workyard Kit was born. Seeing its success, Holman realized that the kit could have potential beyond The High Line and set about designing it for mass production.
The kit is currently being tested at a number of pilot schools around the country, where Holman hopes it can enhance STEM curricula. In fact, Holman says, STEM should really be STEAM, because without an ‘A’ for ‘art,’ how can children flex the creative muscles they need to excel in science, technology, engineering and math?

The Workyard Kit has no “right” solution. It’s not a puzzle. It’s designed for open-ended prompts that help children think spatially, use their imaginations, and work collaboratively. Examples include:

With these parts, how can you make something that would hold a 10-pound bag of potatoes?
How can you make something that would fly to the moon?
What can you build with 10 parts?


Left photo by Rowa Lee, right photo by Adriana Stimola. Courtesy of Friends of the High Line.

If we here at KaBOOM! got our way, every classroom would have a Workyard Kit and every schoolyard would have an Imagination Playground. Because when it comes to true learning, hands-on, creative, collaborative play beats a standardized test any day of the week.



Cas Holman teaches Industrial Design at Rhode Island School for Design and is part of its STEM to STEAM initiative. For more information about the Workyard Kit and to learn about a backyard version, visit WorkyardKit.com. To see Cas Holman’s other projects, visit CasHolman.com. To find the Workyard Kit on the High Line, visit TheHighline.org.
 

Terry V. (30)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 4:51 pm
My kind of learning. Wonder if I'm too OLD??? A garden would be nice too:-)
 

JL A. (285)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 5:31 pm
I don't think we are ever too old to learn. A gerontologist I know recommends all his patients to do all they can to keep on learning (and the related cell replacement that preserves cognitive functioning). You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last week.
 

Barb Knight (1710)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 8:40 pm
We have a local news segment called Never Stop Learning! The young lady who makes the reports, visits school children and joins in on whatever activity the children are doing i.e., planting vegetables in a garden. It's a whole lotta fun watchin' the kids tell her what to do! LOL Good post, JL!
 

JL A. (285)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 8:43 pm
Sounds like a great show for parents and others supervising/caring for children to get some good ideas BarbCat. Thanks BarbCat. You cannot currently send a star to BarbCat because you have done so within the last week.
 

Giana Peranio-Paz (413)
Monday January 14, 2013, 12:47 am
This is very creative and constructive. It exercises many different parts of the brain at once. I wish I could be a child again and play with this game. Thanks J.L.A.
 

Rebecca G. (0)
Monday January 14, 2013, 3:27 am
On Terry's remark ;o) OH YES INDEEDY - GARDENING is one of the BEST LEARNING TOOLS - for ALL AGES ;o) GREAT IDEA about PLAYING and LEARNING - wish they had that IDEA back in my school days of ANCIENT TIME ;o)
 

Christeen Anderson (613)
Monday January 14, 2013, 5:39 am
Playing and learning. A great combination. Thank you.
 

John Gregoire (273)
Monday January 14, 2013, 5:56 am
Great post! So much more is learned in this manner.
 

JL A. (285)
Monday January 14, 2013, 10:01 am
You cannot currently send a star to Giana because you have done so within the last week.
You cannot currently send a star to Christeen because you have done so within the last week.
You cannot currently send a star to John because you have done so within the last week.
 

Kit B. (276)
Monday January 14, 2013, 10:41 am

Using everything from wooden spoons and non-breakable bowls, measuring cups and spoons to something as basic as pop-sickle sticks are ways to stimulate the creative imaginations of children. While playing they do learn, if there is someone that makes this fun and interesting. It's a big mistake to assume that children are not aware of being given a toy or TV game and pushed away so adults will not have to "deal" with them. These are all great ideas, but the children do need a guiding hand from open minded and enthusiastic adults.
 

JL A. (285)
Monday January 14, 2013, 10:45 am
Thanks for adding the critical parental elements when parents approach such children's activities Kit!
 

Mitchell D. (133)
Monday January 14, 2013, 11:39 am
Absolutely great!
Absolutely never to old to learn. Recent studies in neurology have found that the brain is constantly re-wiring itself, and growing new neuronal connections is how it does this.
Having read the prior sentence has already had that impact on your collective brains, as I understand it.
To thrive, as one grows older, one must keep active intellectually, as well as physically, learning new hobbies, music, languages, reading new authors, on, and on....
 

JL A. (285)
Monday January 14, 2013, 12:15 pm
I agree Mictchell! I've read some of the new research, too. One of the older studies of nursing home residents showed a huge protective effect against dementia and Altzheimer Syndrome among those that played musical instruments from those that didn't. You cannot currently send a star to Mitchell because you have done so within the last week.
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 12:25 pm
As a culture so focused on technology, its great to see children using their imaginations. As in my district, 4 year olds are mandated to know certain principles of the computer -why? As computers have their place, they do not allow for creativity. The internet is a tool for information, and should be seen as no more and no less.
 

JL A. (285)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 12:37 pm
One caveat: there are many art and other graphical programs allowing for creativity that I'm aware of Allan.
You cannot currently send a star to Allan because you have done so within the last week.
 
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