Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Innovative Instruction: The Augmented Reality Sandbox

Would you like a quick glimpse at the kind of innovative lessons taking place in classrooms throughout Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools? Well check out this short video (one minute, twenty-two seconds):

A team of four engineering students from East Chapel Hill High School have constructed an Augmented Reality Sandbox (ARS) to be used by East science teachers to provide a dynamic interactive 3D color topographic modeling environment. The team's project idea was first suggested by East Chapel Hill science teacher and team's project "client", Dr. Stephen Snyder. This idea was inspired by a similar machine constructed at East Carolina University by colleagues of Dr. Snyder. The team of first-year engineering students, consisting of seniors James Jennings and Victor Ding along with sophomores Sam Castleberry and Ryan Pecaut, constructed their functioning version of the ARS on a slim budget of less than $300. These students creatively financed their project through a combination of teacher directed PTA funds, donations, and CTE instructional funding. They received guidance and encouragement from their client, Dr. Snyder, East engineering instructors, Patrick Pudlo and Bill Vincent, and local and district level support staff including Bill Groves, Anita Benton and Brian Wood. 
This team of four engineering students were part of a total of 134 taking the Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) course at East Chapel Hill High School.  For the course final project, these students self-assembled into more than 60 teams and attempted almost 30 authentic projects. Teams bid on authentic projects submitted by members of the East community including East teachers and the athletic booster club. The person submitting the idea for an engineered solution served as the "client" for the students who operated as engineering firms.  Through the project, the engineering teams were responsible for maintaining communication with their clients, managing overall project time lines and budgets, creating comprehensive design briefs, constructing 3D CAD models and creating physical models of their designs before presenting their final products to their clients. Many of these students will continue their study of engineering next year at East in the second level engineering course, Principles of Engineering (POE).  Learn more about engineering at East by visiting 

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