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Knocking It Out of the Park: A Playground Capstone Project

A photo of a colorful playground designed to teach gravity through virtual reality
Katie Martin designed a concept playground that would use augmented and virtual reality to teach gravity.

Tamecia Jones wanted her TDE 481 students to understand that research skills are integrated into everything they use — whether they realize it or not — which is why she created a capstone project that required them to construct a scale-model playground.

“Some students are going to industry, while others are going into education to become teachers. Finding a project that they all could individually relate to was my goal,” said Jones, an assistant professor in the NC State College of Education’s Department of STEM Education.

“The idea of a playground was exciting because of the research around play, the multiple facets of design that would be important, the potential for learning exhibits, and because they once played on playgrounds.”

Each playground had to:

  • Fit a 10-inch by 10-inch base
  • Include three playground features
  • Be manufactured by the student via production in the lab
  • Meet accessibility minimums
  • And include features from in-class research and readings.

The results? Well, in Jones’ words, they “knocked the assignment out of the park.” Take a look below at a few of the designs.