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MODEL-BUILDING CHECK LIST
Check the following list and compare it with the results of your surveys to make sure that you are redesigning the grounds according to site conditions and the needs of the school community.
School Grounds in a BoxTM
photographs show the different stages of building a model.
Students can determine a scale that allows measurements to be easily calculated and transferred back and forth between the model and the site plan. They can measure the dimensions of the building and cut cardboard boxes to size to form the buildings and draw doorways and windows on the sides of the boxes and mark spaces where murals can be added. Fabric or carpeting can be used to represent the paved and grassed areas.
Students can measure the size of existing features and determine their location on the site. To-scale models can be made of existing items such as garbage receptacles, play structures, kindergarten spaces, basketball poles and trees.
Students can identify and record details on the routes and spaces used by people and vehicles. Learning about how people and vehicles use and traverse the site helps to avoid problems related to locating planting spaces on the desire lines or near where trees and other plants may suffer mechanical damage from vehicles. Coloured string can be placed on the grounds of the model to mark the routes used by pedestrians and cyclists, the main routes used by the school community between the doorways of the building and all destinations on the grounds and the major access routes and turning space allowances for grounds maintenance, emergency, delivery and waste collection vehicles.
Students can come up with ideas for making models of the existing fencing and ways to improve it such as growing vines up the support posts and attaching murals to sections of the fencing. They can measure the distance between the posts and the length of the fencing to determine the number of plants required, identify suitable species of vines and other plants and calculate the cost.
Students can determine the direction of the prevailing winds in Winter and design ways of creating windbreaks with conifers. Lengths of fencing and structures such as trellises can be made and moved about the grounds of the model to determine the most appropriate place for them. The model fence in this photograph was made by drilling small holes in a length of 1” X 2” wood and inserting cedar clippings into the holes. Growing plants on fencing can improve the aesthetics of the schoolyard, create pockets of shade, reduce windspeed, screen unsightly views from the yard and provide shelter for wildlife.
The people and vehicle traffic routes will help you place small models of proposed projects in locations where they will not cause conflict. If placing a planting project across a well-used route is unavoidable, students can design an interesting, clearly-marked pathway to guide people through the space.
Once a space has been identified for use as a quiet, social area, students can work on designing tree-shaded seating arrangements that are built around the activities they wish to include in the quiet area. Various types of seating including stumps, logs, stones and benches can be placed in different locations on the model to help identify the most appropriate configuration and placement of the seating. Students can do research to identify the right plant for each planting location on the site.
Students can conduct a shade audit to find out how much shade is available to children at different times of the day. Once all the existing and new components are in place, students can use spotlights to simulate the sun's path throughout the day to ensure that the shade from trees and sun shelters will fall where it is needed. The sight lines can be checked by lying down on the ground to get a worm's eye view from different points on the model.
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