By Lynne Marsala Basche
Timber Trail Elementary (TTE) third-grade students participated in a Project Based Learning (PBL) unit called “Putting the Pieces Together.” PBL teaches students to acquire knowledge and skills by investigating and creating solutions to real-world challenges. As part of the lesson, students became playground engineers tasked with modifying a playspace to meet the needs of children with autism.
Students learned about the disorder, conducted research, and in October, they presented their recommendations to modify Coyote Ridge Park to the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District (CPNMD) and the Castle Pines Parks Authority.
Based on the recommendations, three local organizations are contributing or donating $10,000 to install new playground equipment at Coyote Ridge Park. The Castle Pines Parks Authority is purchasing three KidForce Spinners and one Volta Accessible Spinner. The CPNMD is removing the old equipment, as well as installing the new pieces. The TTE Parent Teacher organization is helping with the purchase of the new playground equipment.
“We were impressed with the amount of research these third-graders put into identifying playground equipment that would appeal to children with autism,” said Jim Nikkel, district manager for CPNMD. “We’re confident that the equipment we chose from the students’ selections will appeal to the diverse needs of our Castle Pines youth.”
The new equipment is expected next month, and once installed, kids of all ages and abilities will be able to enjoy Coyote Ridge Park even more.
Read more about the project in the November issue of The Connection.