Brightly colored small models of skate parks created by students lined tables at one middle school auditorium as students shared designs to make their dream skate parks a reality.
At Montgomery Middle School in El Cajon, 80 seventh graders constructed the models, including trees made out of polystyrene, swings made from Popsicle sticks, and skating areas from small plastic bowls.
At each table there were laptop computers which showed detailed programs of each group’s design for the “Parks Build Community” project. Students explained their ideas and how the designs worked. They showed how the swings, benches, and skate ramps would serve visitors in their park. Some even included a first aid building, separate men’s and women’s bathrooms, and areas for people to walk. One group even had a rental shack which offered the opportunity to borrow sports equipment.
The project lasted nearly seven months, and combined math, English and engineering. Teachers Catherine White, Amanda Plocinsi and Emmy Rodgers chose students picked randomly from their second period classes.
Aside from the design, teachers included other lessons. They contrasted skating in El Cajon to other parts of the world, especially Afghanistan. They partnered with a nonprofit group, “Skateistan” which benefits children in Afghanistan and keeps them involved in skating. Tony Hawk, the professional skateboarder, is an ambassador of the group.