CCPS High School TAM Students Present Innovative Play Space Design Challenge Projects to Elementary Students
Calvert County Public Schools’ (CCPS) Patuxent High School students participating in the Teacher’s Academy of Maryland (TAM) program recently presented play space design projects to Patuxent Appeal Campus fifth grade students. The presentation was part of a design challenge project assigned by their TAM teacher Mr. Eric Heisler.
Mr. Heisler shared that he was inspired by watching various HGTV/Food TV competitions and thinking about how in instruction, “the product that you make or write or create must appeal to a particular audience for a specific purpose.” After reading the article “The Overprotected Kid” by Hanna Rosin students had less than two weeks to design and build their play space as well as create their presentation.
“The things students learn in school need to go beyond the four walls of any classroom curriculum, so projects such as this one affords students the opportunity to both experience and tackle real-life challenges,” explained Heisler.
Mr. Heisler has assigned this project previously to his classes; however, this year was the first time the design challenge had a specific focus on meeting student needs in the local community.
The play space designs had to meet the following criteria – develop a play space for the Patuxent Appeal Campus that would best positively impact the intellectual, social, psychological, and emotional needs of the community’s children. Students were tasked with creating the project from the perspective of teachers, counselors, and administrators. Students incorporated safety measures, existing environment, and supporting emotional and education growth as part of their designs. They had approximately 12.5 wooded acres on the Patuxent Appeal Campus to create their innovative play space designs.
Twelve students comprised of Patuxent High School sophomores, juniors, and seniors participated in this year’s design challenge and had the opportunity to work individually or on a team. Participating students were:
- Team Wild: Damien Allen, Sam Hough, and Theo Santos
- Team Seasons: Lydia Hart
- Team Imagination Land: Lilly Cornett, Lily Noll, Cece Pyrah, and Caydence Stone
- Team Wonderland: Hailey Bisonette and Summer Collins
- Team Harmony Park: AJ Henrichsen and McKayla Moreno
“I am beyond proud of the work my students created in such a short time! Their excitement to share their ideas with the elementary students shows just how much good there is in the world and highlights out students’ ability to make positive impacts on one another's lives,” shared Heisler. “Seeing the looks of wonder on the fifth graders during the presentations was magical!”
TAM is a Career and Technology Education program developed through a partnership between Maryland State Department of Education and Towson University. An integral component of the TAM program is providing students with firsthand teaching experiences like the play space design challenge project presentations. For more information about the TAM program offered at CCPS, visit calvertnet.k12.md.us/CTE.