Heart River installs new interactive playground – the first of its kind in North Dakota – The Dickinson Press

DICKINSON — On the South Side of Dickinson, Heart River Elementary School has installed a new interactive play area in its gymnasium — the first of its kind within the Dickinson Public Schools system, as well as the first in North Dakota .

Integrating this new technology into the DPS system was an opportunity Heart River couldn’t pass up, said physical education instructor Jesse Patterson, especially since it’s such a program. diversified.

“We just saw it and (we were) like, ‘Man, that’s so cool. Would that be cool to have here? And then we talked about the benefits and how we’d use it. What we the biggest thing is that it’s a school-wide tool,” Patterson said. “Being in the gym, I have the benefit and the blessing of being able to l use every day at every class. But the fact that it’s new technology and it’s engaging, we’ve talked about how even kids are engaged in so many video games, so we knew the connection would be there instantly… It’s something that ‘they’ll instantly like it because they’re immersed in it, they’re involved in it, they can touch it, they can throw things at it and things like that.

A Heart River Elementary student touches the interactive playground screen to kick off the next stage of the workout program during gym class Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

On April 18, 2022, the entire Heart River Elementary School student body tests out the newly installed interactive playground during the school assembly.
On April 18, 2022, the entire Heart River Elementary School student body tests out the newly installed interactive playground during the school assembly.

Contribution / Dickinson Public Schools

Now that it’s fully operational for its third week, Patterson said they’re slowly integrating new technology into classes.

“So, as a physical education teacher, I care about the health of my students. So (it helps) to keep them engaged, which already works when they’re here… So if they’re here for six minutes of their day, they still leave sweaty, exhausted, and as a PE teacher, that’s what you’d like to see,” Patterson noted.

The 3D motion sensor wall senses touch and impacts on the wall and adapts to every grade level with varying degrees of difficulty. With a focus on healthy minds and bodies, the interactive playground is so immersive for students that they sometimes forget how much they’re actually moving, Patterson added.

“It’s different from saying, ‘Hey, for our warm-ups today, we’re going to do three laps.’ Now we can use our warm-up tool here, they have to run over it, hit the screen. They start their physical activity that way and… they like not knowing what exercise they’re going to do and doing it that way,” he said “The biggest benefit to me as a physical education teacher is simply the overall health of our students and keeping them physically active.”

The new interactive playground is pictured inside the gymnasium at Heart River Elementary School.
The new interactive playground is pictured inside the gymnasium at Heart River Elementary School.

Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

Physical education instructor Jesse Patterson instructs his fourth grade class with the interactive playground on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at Heart River Elementary School.
Physical education instructor Jesse Patterson instructs his fourth grade class with the interactive playground on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at Heart River Elementary School.

Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

With the Interactive Playground, programming divides different apps into categories appropriate for each class, Patterson said, adding that the “Target” category incorporates skill drills such as passing and throwing. Patterson also noted that there is also a section where teachers can access the curriculum and customize quizzes and games in conjunction with their current curriculum. For example, when Patterson’s fourth-grade students come in for a gym class, he uses the app to reinforce academic elements like math or science in one of the games, making it an “interdisciplinary tool.” “.

Heart River Elementary School was first featured at Lü Interactive Playground last fall when she met the company who gave her a base price of $27,000. Principal Randy Muffley said they had set a goal, but did not expect they would achieve it in the first year of college. However, a $10,000 grant from the DPS Foundation and funding for a chocolate fundraiser helped achieve their fundraising goal.

“In February, we were amazed to have the funding in place because we honestly thought it would be a longer term goal to reach and achieve. So the fact that we put it in our school in April is pretty cool,” Muffley said.

Students exercise with the interactive playground at Heart River Elementary School on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
Students exercise with the interactive playground at Heart River Elementary School on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

Heart River Elementary students do burpees during gym class using the interactive playground on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
Heart River Elementary students do burpees during gym class using the interactive playground on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

The nearest school system with this technology is about a four-hour drive away in Wyoming. In the United States, interactive playgrounds can be found in more than 900 school systems, Muffley said, adding that it’s a global business.

“It’s a great tool for students and just another way to add to our physical education curriculum. So from a schools perspective, hopefully they have the desire to want to work on it like we did because it’s really great for the kids,” Muffley said.

The Heart River students are proud to have been a part of this process, Muffley said, adding “that’s a lot of chocolate they sold.”

“We feel really humbled that our parents and our Dickinson Public Schools Foundation saw this vision and supported us and getting the financial part done so quickly is really just a statement to this community in terms of people wanting to support us and support what we do and support this vision,” he said. “We are honored to have him.”

Fourth graders use their boxing skills during a warm-up routine using the newly installed interactive playground at Heart River Elementary School on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
Fourth graders use their boxing skills during a warm-up routine using the newly installed interactive playground at Heart River Elementary School on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

Harold B. McConnell