Adaptive Technologies Collection


These media resources from ICE WARRIORS, MEDAL QUEST, and DESIGN SQUAD NATION 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.

  • Ice Warriors: Hitting

    There's no doubt about it: Sled hockey is a rough sport. Hear from the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey players about what the intensity of the sport means to them, in this video from the Ice Warriors website.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Ice Warriors: How They View Us

    Connect with U.S. National Sled Hockey Team players, who distinguish between how society views athletes with disabilities and the reality they experience, in this video from “Ice Warriors.” According to the players, people in society often regard people with disabilities as fragile and weak, and imagine adaptive sports like sled hockey to be slow, with no physical contact. But after people watch the sled hockey team play a game, they realize how athletic people with disabilities can be. This resource is part of the Adaptive Technologies Collection.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Ice Warriors: Sled Hockey 101

    Learn from players on the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team about the sport of sled hockey in this video from “Ice Warriors,” and then use the support materials to learn about the engineering design process. People with different types of disabilities can play sled hockey, including amputees and people born with spina bifida. The game is similar to regulation or NHL ice hockey—called “stand-up hockey” by the sled hockey players—but players sit on sleds with metal skate blades attached and use their arms to move the sleds. Their sticks, one in each hand, have a shooting curve on one end and small picks on the other. Players use the picks to propel themselves around the ice. The rules are the same as ice hockey: move the puck, get in good scoring position, and play good defense. This resource is part of the Adaptive Technologies Collection.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Ice Warriors: The Road to Gold

    Experience the journey that players on the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team took when preparing for and then playing in the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia, in this media gallery from “Ice Warriors.” Rico Roman, a forward on the team, was injured in active duty military service. After having his leg amputated and discovering sled hockey, he joined the team and discovered the camaraderie he had been missing since leaving the Army. Other players on the team describe their goals and approaches as they prepare to play for the gold medal and their feelings after their victory over the Russian team.

    Grades: 6-12
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Titanium Chairs and Cheetah Legs

    Paralympic athletes demonstrate 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, materials, and 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
  • Jeremy Wagner: "I Spent The Weekends on the Snow"

    Growing up in Hawaii, Paralympic biathlon competitor Jeremy Wagner never dreamed of the slopes, but he pursued the sport after he was approached by a recruiter. He describes discovering the biathlon in this Medal Quest video, courtesy of NBC Sports.

    Grades: 6-12
  • James Stuck

    James Stuck is a member of Team USA's Men's Sitting Volleyball Team. His height,6' 5'', and his arm span and long torso make him a perfect athlete for the sport. See his story, in this profile from Medal Quest.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Jen Armbruster: "A Target On Our Backs"

    In their first game of the London Paralympics, the U.S. women's goalball team faced Sweden, a top international team. Jen Armbruster explains how she became involved in this sport, in this video from Medal Quest.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Hand-Ear Coordination

    Goalball players Jen Armbruster, Lisa Czechowski, and Asya Miller explain their game and show the skills and strategies that have won so many medals, in this video from Medal Quest.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Scott Winkler

    Scott Winkler was serving with the 549th Military Police Company out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, when they were deployed to Iraq in 2003. While unloading ammunition later that year, Winkler fell from a truck and severely injured his spinal cord, resulting in paralysis from the chest down. In 2006, he was introduced to discus and shot put at the Paralympic Military Sports Camp. Coaches agreed: Winkler had a natural talent. See his story, in this profile from Medal Quest.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Linda Mastandrea

    Mastandrea became a two-time Paralympian who won a gold and a silver medal in track at the 1996 Paralympic Games. She has also represented the United States at three World Championships, the Pan American Games and the Stoke-Mandeville Wheelchair Games, winning fifteen gold and five silver medals, and setting national, world and Paralympic records numerous times throughout her athletic career. See her story, in this profile from Medal Quest.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Jessica Galli

    Wheelchair racer Jessica Galli competed in Sydney in 2000 and again in Athens in 2004. But her breakthrough came in Beijing 2008, where she won five medals, including a record-breaking gold medal in the 400m, three silvers (100m, 200m, 800m), and one bronze (4x100m relay). It was the highest total for any U.S. Paralympic Track & Field athlete. See her story, in this profile from Medal Quest.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Anjali Forber-Pratt

    When Anjali Forber-Pratt was just 5, she remembers seeing wheelchair racers for the very first time competing in the Boston Marathon. This moment planted a seed, and she soon got her very first racing wheelchair and went to her first junior national competition at age 9. See her story, in this profile from Medal Quest.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Tommy Chasanoff

    Tommy Chasanoff has been running since age five. 19 years later, at the Parapan American Games in Mexico, 2011, he took his first international medals. See his story, in this profile from Medal Quest.

    Grades: 6-12

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