Digital Learning class project lands partnership with city, sparks curiosity and wonder in students
What would your dream park look like? It might have lots of trees, a playground, picnic tables, benches and a splash pad. But what does your dream park look like if you use a wheelchair or walker? Does your park look the same or should it be modified so it can be enjoyed by all?
At Rahn Elementary, students in Digital Learning Specialist Kaycie Miller’s class used critical thinking, collaboration and creativity to design an inclusive city park using Tinkercad technology. Additionally, Miller partnered with the City of Burnsville with the goal to eventually incorporate elements of her students’ projects into an inclusive park in Burnsville.
Over the course of three weeks, students worked on their projects. During the first week, students completed research on inclusive parks. In the second week, they went through part of the design process to create their parks in Tinkercad. Finally, in the third week, they completed their projects and finished up the design process.
Students also recorded screencast presentations of their projects and uploaded them to Seesaw or Schoology, depending on their grade level, to share with their classmates for feedback.
“Students really enjoyed the building part of the design process and creating in Tinkercad,” said Miller. “The most challenging part was finding and exploring different sources of research on inclusive city parks.”
“It was amazing to see students learn a new program in a short amount of time, especially because the 3D program is challenging and has many little details and features — something most students are not used to working with,” said Miller. “It was cool to see kids persevere to make their parks just right.”
In elementary school, digital learning focuses on helping students develop the skills needed to use technology for learning. Students apply these skills through instructional units that focus on an introduction to One91 Pathways, which aims to introduce students to different experiences to spark curiosity, wonder and a love of learning.
The inclusive park project, just one unit of study in a digital learning class, has sparked other ideas for using Tinkercad in the future, including a 3D printing project. Right now, though, the next step for Miller will be sharing one or two projects with the city and getting their feedback. She is hopeful that some of her students’ designs will come to life in a real city park.