4th Grade landscape architects take first in science fair


Do girls and boys use parks and playgrounds differently?  It’s a big question but one that 4th graders, Abbey and Kiera, were willing to tackle for their science fair project at Aquarian Charter School.

Last spring, the twins were inspired to spend their summer visiting as many Anchorage parks as possible. With the help of our Director of Philanthropy, Jess, they decided to collect data on how different genders use our parks. Abbey and Kiera (and their dog, Finney!) visited over 40 parks last summer and recorded their experiences and observations in their journals.

The girls continued their research by visiting City Hall to interview Maeve Nevins (Park Planner), Taylor Keegan (Park Planner), and Michelle Fehribach (Volunteer Coordinator) about their jobs creating parks and playgrounds in Anchorage. These conversations led them to create a survey for their classmates to find out how they use parks. They polled over 120 students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade.

Here’s what they found:

1. Boys and girls go to the park for the same reasons.  They go to play, hang out, and have fun!
2. Boys like to play in open fields the most and really like swings.
3. Girls prefer to playing in wooded more enclosed outdoor areas and like different playground pieces like swings, spinners, monkey bars, and obstacle courses.
4. Everyone likes swings!
5. Valley of the Moon is the most popular playground.
6. Kincaid is the most popular park.

The best part is that these young ladies won the GRAND PRIZE in the science fair.  AND they’re sharing their survey results with the MoA Park Planners to help with future planning and designs. These two might have a future in landscape architecture!

Below are excerpts from Kiera and Abbey’s park journals.

Fairview Lion’s Park

Kiera: “It’s a good park to play and a good park to have your dog play.  It also has a nice eating spot and volleyball place.”

Abbey: “This park was Finney approved! It has a very fun playground and a place to play volleyball. Our friend Sophie liked it too.”

Williwaw Park

Kiera: “Really big and crowded.  Lots of big kids playing football and tag.  Finney liked the grassy field for chasing his ball.”

Abbey: “Swings, slides, climbing! This park is awesome!”

Ruth Arcand Park

Kiera: “It’s our mom’s birthday and found this park close to our house.”

Abbey: “We got invited to a party here and came back with Finney and Dad.  I even got to ‘walk’ the dinosaur.”