Adaptive Technologies

Expand/Collapse Adaptive Technologies


These media resources from MEDAL QUEST and DESIGN SQUAD help students explore how science, technology, engineering, and math support athletes with physical disabilities as they compete at elite levels.

Use these standards-based resources to increase students’ understanding of people with disabilities, broaden awareness of Paralympic sports, highlight the adaptive technologies used by Paralympic athletes, and showcase the engineering design process used to create these technologies.

  • Designing a Wheelchair for Rugby

    In this video segment adapted from Design Squad, U.S. Paralympic athlete and wheelchair rugby player Kerri Morgan asks the teams to build an automated wheelchair that simulates a defensive player on the attack. The teams use the engineering design process to create adaptive technologies. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grades 6-12 students.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Prosthetist

    In this MEDAL QUEST video, prosthetist Shane Ryley reveals the special care and technology needed to create the high-performance artificial limbs that have revolutionized sports for athletes with disabilities. Ryley details the process, from fabrication to fit to function and maintenance. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grade 6-12 students.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Design Process Poster

    Engineers use a series of steps called the design process to solve a problem. The design process helps people think creatively about a problem and arrive at a successful solution, and is a great way to tackle almost any task. This printable image from DESIGN SQUAD outlines the five steps of the engineering design process: 1) identify the problem; 2) brainstorm; 3) design; 4) build, test, evaluate, and redesign; and 5) share solutions.This image is also available in Spanish.

     

    Watch short videos in The Design Process Interactive to see each step of the engineering design process in action.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Jeff Fabry: Like a Robot Shooting the Bow

    Jeff Fabry was 15 years old when he lost his right arm and leg in an accident. Despite his injuries, Fabry has become a world-class archer. In this video from MEDAL QUEST, Fabry demonstrates how adaptive technology enables him to compete alongside both able-bodied and para-athletes.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Titanium Chairs and Cheetah Legs

    In this MEDAL QUEST video, Paralympic athletes demonstrate the specialized wheelchairs, prosthetics, and other high-tech “tools of the trade” that allow them to compete at elite levels. They describe the impact that new designs, new materials, and new technologies have had on their participation in sprinting, cycling, tennis, and basketball. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grade 6-12 students.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Design Process

    Engineers use a series of steps called the design process to solve a problem. In this resource, featuring video segments excerpted from DESIGN SQUAD, watch teams of kids work through each of the five steps of the design process: 1) identify the problem; 2) brainstorm; 3) design; 4) build, test, evaluate, and redesign; and 5) share solutions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Designing Swimming Prosthetics for a Dancer

    In this video segment adapted from DESIGN SQUAD, dancer and performance artist Lisa Bufano, a bilateral leg and finger amputee, challenges the teams to build specialized prostheses for an underwater performance. The teams keep aesthetics and function in mind as they use the engineering design process to create adaptive technologies.

    Grades: 6-12

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