EQUIP Backpacks finals

My partner and I finished up our EQUIP Backpacks unit back in November. I have some pictures of the final models to show you.

If you remember, the final project included making a drawing and a model of a park, which was to consider the terrain (hills, trees), paving (paths, trails), and a built pavilion. We only have the students for 40 minutes at a time, so we made this a 2-day exercise. On the first day they drew what they thought they wanted their park to look like, and on the second day they built the model.


Safe to say, most students departed significantly from their drawings. This isn’t a big problem by itself since a design should evolve as you work on it. However, throughout this program the kids struggled with drawing, so it might have been easier for them to do the model first and then draw what they built. That would also end the program anti-climatically, though, so who knows.


The kids showed a lot of creativity with their models. The posts were supposed to be trees, but these students used them as ladders for a slide and supports for monkey bars. And here we have a treehouse:


Each of these models represents a collaboration between 2-3 kids. This “team” had a hard time finding their rhythm, let’s say. So they each made their own pavilion, one ended up in a tree and another on the ground. It’s interesting that they both used a similar language, shapes inside of a larger square, to make their pavilions.

Incidentally, “scale” is another thing that the kids had a hard time with. It’s tough to draw the line between letting them be whimsical and trying to steer them towards something a bit more feasible. I think I said, “isn’t that a little big for a treehouse?” and the student said “nope” and I just moved on.


That’s another one that uses the trees well, making a walkway between them. Also, I found colored tape in the backpack for the first time, and it proved to be a pretty popular building material for some.


I like the pavilions on this one a lot, they used nesting shapes to make an exciting tower that could maybe have some balconies on it, too.

This group had probably the best understanding of the terrain, showing bridges where it wouldn’t be safe or comfortable to walk.


And this one has a bird, enough said:


Actually, not enough said. This group was made up of three boys that, let’s say, seemed distracted. Distracted enough to have the teacher’s eye most of the class. But they really pulled it together at the end of the class, and had really clear representations of the equipment and a logical overall layout. It’s exciting to know that the kids really are picking up on things, even when they don’t seem all that into it.

EQUIP Backpacks is put on by CMU, and they’re looking for people to teach future sessions. If you’re interested, get in touch with me through my Facebook page and I’ll pass your info along.

As always, thanks for reading.


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