I did feel when I received the response from the company to the client that it might be worth just consolidating the terms of the comission. I took on the role of Trudy (Tim from the council's personal assistant....) and flicked back a quick email - shown below. This email helps to refine the focus on the commission and remind the children what is being looked for. I have really learned that narrowing / framing the task early on helps the inquiry not to go too wide ("Yes, I agree the owls are a really important feature of the park, but just before you head off and research those, let's check what the commission asks for")
In my email I also gave the class a 'heads up' about the field trip - (an actual field trip planned for a couple of weeks' time) but I tried to honour the enquiry mode by asking the company experts what tests THEY want to run.... I'm willing to bet their ideas are not widely different from those Tim and Gerry and I brainstormed in our meeting.
To the design team at Wild at Heart
Thank you for your prompt response to our letter. We are delighted that you are prepared to accept the commission. As you say this is a very exciting project. We are sure you will do a great job. We understand that you are currently carrying out research into the endangered native long tailed bats who live in the park.
Thank you for assuring us you will take care of the bats. They are really special.
As mentioned in the commission letter we would really like it if the the playground could be planned so that it reflects the life and habits of these unique creatures .... Since the bats fly, hang upside down, burrow etc, perhaps the children using the adventure playground could do the same kinds of things.... Is this possible?
We know you have vast experience in tailoring play equipment to "tell the stories" of the local area, and we would love to have your ideas on how we could use the playground to tell the stories of the bats....
One other thing - I understand that you will be carrying out a field trip to the proposed site on Tuesday 23rd August. Gerry and Tim would like to join you for this trip and supply any support that you might need.
Can you please advise the kinds of tests or measurements that you will need to carry out on this field trip? (Council can supply materials for measuring tree heights)
Trudy (assistant to Tim and Gerry, Hamilton Council)