The fifth grade Think Lab group is doing a study of the math behind mazes. This is an extension of the study of measurement and the upcoming unit on polygons in the 5th grade classroom. So far, we have studied various types of mazes, the purpose of mazes, the characteristics of a maze and the math behind a maze (from measurement to geometry). Our discussions have touched upon dimensions, spatial math, measurement, area and the role of strategizing in navigating a maze.

We have been invited to get involved with an initiative at Ft. Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth. There is a group of community members who are taking on the role of reclaiming the park. They are removing invasive species and making plans to use the space to pull in more of the surrounding community. One area of land will be turned into a children’s garden with a maze. We have been invited to turn in designs for the maze to be passed along to the architect as input for the project! The designing and creation of the maze will take a year or two, so we are getting involved in the beginning stages.

So far, we have had Lynn Schaffer, a key member of the initiative, to visit our school to talk to us. She has shown us photographs and maps of the area to explain the project. The next step was to visit Ft. Williams park so that Lynn could give us a tour of the space for the future garden and maze. This allowed us to measure the space, look at the natural materials we have available to use and learn about native species that will be used in the garden. We wanted to know what we’re working with!


We succeeded in touring the space for the garden and maze, taking measurements, getting photographs, asking our guide questions about the environment and logistics of the project, and learning more about the natural plant life we might include in our designs. Check out our pictures:

Garden & Maze Design Project TL 5


Next came a visit from Mr. Rollins to teach us about the skills and steps involved in making a scale drawing of our designs to hand over to the landscape architect who will work on the project at the park. We asked plenty of questions and learned how to use a scale to create an accurate drawing of the images we held in our mind's eye. Then we spent weeks working on the designs, including a directional compass, key and labels for unique features. Take a look at our creations:

June 7, 2012