Dr. Matthew Powers, associate professor in Clemson University’s School of Planning, Development, Preservation, and Landscape Architecture, and a team of 13 landscape architecture students gave Dacusville Middle School (DMS) students and teachers their first look at the school’s new math garden Tuesday, April 24. DMS students and staff also helped put the final touches on the garden.
The math garden is one part of a larger learning landscape project Dr. Powers and his students are designing and constructing at DMS. The learning landscape is specifically designed to enable teaching though interaction with the natural landscape.
The design team chose to focus first on creating a math garden. In the math garden, middle school students complement what they learn inside the classroom with an interactive set of features. Basic math concepts such as area, fractions, and equations are included.
Clemson landscape architecture students began the design process by analyzing the campus, meeting with school officials, surveying teachers and students, and presenting conceptual plans to a school-wide focus group. Then, DMS students, faculty, and staff worked with the design team to construct the garden by helping install plants and other key features purchased with funds provided by Clemson University’s Creative Inquiry initiative.
According to Powers, the final design includes customizable, multifunctional spaces that teachers and learners can use to explore various concepts through experiential learning. The result is a garden that makes learning meaningful by bringing math to life.