The Playground Problem

By Lauren Scott Griffin, Fred Folger (ill.)

Using a colorful, entertaining, easy-to-follow story with fun in-book activities, The Playground Problem teaches young readers basic mapping and other skills involving geography and spatial patterns.

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The Playground Problem Cover

Book details


Welcome to location games and spatial thinking!

Emma and David find a chain and padlock across the local playground entrance. Where can they play? With help from neighbor Kayla and her dog Blazer, Emma and David set out to find a new place to play. But how will they know where a good location is?

Kayla shows them how they can use basic mapping, distance, direction, spatial pattern analysis, and overlay skills to find the perfection location. And just when they do, they encounter more obstacles—all of them have to work together quickly to solve their playground problem!

Using a colorful, easy-to-follow comic book–style story with fun in-book activities, The Playground Problem takes readers along to see how to overcome problems and find the perfect solution. Large pages brightly illustrate the adventure as readers learn about maps and use basic spatial thinking.

Written by geographic information systems (GIS) expert Dr. Lauren Scott Griffin and illustrated by artist Fred Folger, this hybrid graphic novel/activity book teaches young readers introductory mapping, zeroing in on distance, direction, basic spatial analysis, and other skills. Solving interesting puzzles and learning to "think spatially" not only helps kids with their math skills for higher grades, but also gives them a head start in exciting careers. Research shows exercising spatial reasoning skills at an early age accelerates children's competence in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

Mapping for kids has never been this much fun!
For grades 1-5. Includes a glossary.

Lauren Scott Griffin
Dr. Lauren Scott Griffin has more than 33 years of experience in software development and GIS at Esri. She has been invited to deliver presentations, workshops, and short courses at the National Institute of Justice, Centers for Disease Control, Johns Hopkins, and more.

Fred Folger
Fred Folger has worked in special effects for the motion picture and television industries. Credits include: Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla, and Star Trek the Next Generation. He was also a contributing artist for The Disney Experience and works as an illustrator.

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