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Solving Playground Network Problems

Source Institutions

    The Exploratorium

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Solving Playground Network Problems

In this activity, learners use cooperation and logical thinking to find solutions to network problems on the playground. Learners act both as computer routers, figuring out with each other how to effectively get data to the place it's being sent, and as the actual data, because the learners travel various edges of a network to get to their destination or "home" point. Learners use geometry skills to determine the most efficient routes in the network.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Game


Materials List (per group of students)

  • playground with painted game courts or other paved surface (a four square court is an ideal network)
  • chalk
  • small ball or other object to toss
  • blank stickers
  • markers


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Computing
      • Computer Science
      • Information Systems
      • Information Technology
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Problem Solving
    • Representation

Informal Categories

  • Games
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, Exploratorium, ©2010

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation