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Student-Designed Adapted Projects Promote Independence for Cedar Lane Students

June 11th, 2019

A young male student at Cedar Lane learns how to play an adapted game.

This spring, Cedar Lane School students are enjoying new adapted physical education and art products made by Systems and Project Engineering Academy students. During Cedar Lane’s Challenge Day and classes throughout the year, students can independently use a frisbee launcher, catapult, archery and more designed specifically for them.

The experience is a win/win: the Cedar Lane students gain access to independence when using the equipment, while the engineering students got the opportunity to apply the engineering design process, practice problem solving and create objects that help others.

Eleventh graders Isaiah Martin, Jai Stafford, Christopher Black and Franklin Porter are all aspiring engineers who teamed up to create the frisbee launcher. Collectively they said the experience taught them the importance of focusing to meet a deadline, working together as a team, brainstorming and more. Black explained his main goal for creating the frisbee launcher was to make the Cedar Lane students smile.

A male student sitting in a wheelchair and surrounded by three teachers is smiling as he plays with an adapted game.

Engineering academy teacher Krista Suri brought the inclusive design project to the CTE Career Academy at the Applications and Research Laboratory three years ago, originally with adapted cars. The curriculum is based on the concept of design thinking, which emphasizes creating with empathy for the user. Suri explained the reward is two-fold: “I get to see the joy in Cedar Lane students’ eyes when they do something new, and also see my students’ accomplishment over something they designed that’s meaningful.”

Over the years, Suri’s classes have partnered with Cedar Lane adapted physical education teacher Jody Duff on a wide range of gym, field day and leisure projects–such as darts, golf and basketball–to “find ways for our kids to participate just like you do,” Duff said.

A young female student in a wheelchair works with a teacher to learn an adapted game.

This year, Suri’s engineering students expressed a strong interest in art, so they enlisted Cedar Lane’s art teacher Lisy Holloway to join the project. Holloway said, “I hope to make my art program more accessible to a wider variety of students, while helping the engineering students understand how important it is to make art accessible to everybody.”

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