Middle School Math Teacher Justin Solonynka threw down a challenge to the eighth graders taking his geometry class. He asked them to calculate the “playable volume” of the wooden climbing structure that is the centerpiece of the new Headwaters Discovery Playground. As they worked on solving the problem, he created this video of them collaborating to come up with an answer.
Justin knew that the structure, with its tunnels, towers and bridges made of netting, offered a wide variety of shapes for the students to measure. The students spent two days climbing over every nook and cranny of the play structure, measuring and re-measuring every inch (or centimeter!) of it. As they worked, they wrote down their numbers on a roll of brown paper taped to the driveway. Working together on the playground and on a third day in the classroom, the students came up with their answer. In rounded terms: more than 4,800 cubic feet!
“I wanted to give them real-world experience in calculating volume,” Justin said.