For nearly a year, because of COVID-19, educators have been grappling with how and when to safely reopen schools. A recent report from Harvard University prescribes continuing to maintain physical distancing by moving classes outdoors, among other procedures. Enter Play Lab, a joint venture between Matter Design and the Grayson School, an independent pre-K through 12 institution in Radnor, Pennsylvania, that focuses on project-based learning.
Play Lab is comprised of two main elements: anchors and glyphs. The larger anchors, in four sizes ranging up to 15 feet tall, are cast from a custom concrete mix made by the global R&D department of project collaborator CEMEX and semipermanent. The smaller 4-foot-long glyphs, each with a unique shape in carved, painted plywood, are considered temporal. Together they serve as a laboratory for an innovative middle-school curriculum that ranges from rope swings to riddle-solving. “Students are to use the infrastructure as a scaffold for their own creations,” Matter Design director Brandon Clifford says.
Looking forward, he and his team will apply the dynamics behind Play Lab to another educational platform, the self-explanatory Crop Circle Kit, which they hope to distribute on a larger scale. Even post-pandemic, it seems outside learning may be here to stay.