Sanni Salo and Kai Rinkinen | Industrial Design

"Playground Physics", design project

The design project "Playground Physics" was completed at the University of Lapland during the years 2008-2009. The purpose of the project was to produce an suitable tool for demonstrating physics phenomena in primary school education which would also have a function in yard games in the school yard.

The impetus for "Playground Physics", begun in 2008, was an initiative by physics teacher Hannu Raudaskoski of the Rovaniemi Steiner School. Raudaskoski felt in his work the absence of a suitable tool for demonstrating physics phenomena. The demonstration of physics phenomena is generally considered an important counterpart to the physics theory taught in primary schools. In 2008 Raudaskoski applied for and received funding from the Finnish National Board of Education for a research project aimed at producing a demonstration tool for physics education. When the project was transferred to the University of Lapland and became a Master's thesis in Industrial Design, the design project "Playground Physics" began. Students Sanni Salo and Kai Rinkinen began work on the realisation of the project. The supervisor for the project was Pertti Aula. The design project was carried out from the autumn of 2008 until the beginning of 2009.

The product resulted in the presentation of miniature models of five product ideas, built on a 1:5 scale. As a series, the concept ideas aimed to cover a large portion of the physics phenomena taught and demonstrated in primary schools. Much attention was paid in the designing process to the playful, game-playing aspect of the intended products. Yard games and playing during recess are also interesting to older pupils. Using the ideas of the project only to design toys would only interest younger school children. Physics theory is taught in the higher grades of primary school. The product ideas create a continuum from recess play and games through to the demonstration of physics phenomena in theory teaching.