A colorful climbing wall with sides you can use as a chalkboard?  UTC engineering students designed a new way to cognitively and physically engage Rhea County students age five to ten years.

The physical therapist in the Rhea County school district requested an indoor activity for these students, who face a varying range of disabilities.  Sophomore Mary Courtney Reid came up with the idea of using chalkboard paint on the side of the structure so students could draw on it (and not get into trouble).

Construction took nearly two months.  The wall satisfies all the requirements—it’s safe to use, it’s challenging to use and it is fun to use while physical therapy is achieved.

Sophomore Sumner Welte assures the climbing wall is sturdy.

“It’s not going anywhere,” said Welte. “We used T-nuts in the construction, which allows us to easily take it apart to get it through a doorway.”

Students who use the wall improve their gross motor skills by climbing up the wall with a rope.  This activity will help develop upper body strength.  They can improve their fine motor skills by using additional sections of the board, according to Sophomore Michael Garner.

This project was made possible by an education grant provided to the UTC Engineering Department and Signal Centers. 

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