Robotics Club for Students with and without Disabilities

Thursday, October 13, 2016

CyberKnights Unified Robotics
Photo courtesy King's


Special Olympics Unified Robotics™ Kickoff 

Last year students from King’s High School in Shoreline created a new program called Unified Robotics™. Unified Robotics is a robotics club designed to make hands on STEM learning available to high school students of all abilities. (See previous article)

This year the Unified Robotics season started with a kickoff event on Monday October 10 at Microsoft Redmond Town Center in Redmond. The event was livestreamed by Microsoft; the link is available to access at the Unified Robotics website.

STEM study is widely and deeply embedded in mainstream education, however students with intellectual disabilities have been left behind. This creates significant problems because STEM skills are necessary for success and even survival in modern society. Many people with intellectual disabilities are extremely creative and capable, and simply need exposure and training to reach full potential. That is why it was such a huge leap forward when the Unified Robotics Club was created.

Last year Unified Robotics was piloted at Roosevelt High School by members of the King’s CyberKnights FIRST Robotics Competition team. Unified Robotics follows the Special Olympics Unified Sports model by pairing students with and without intellectual disabilities with the goals of bringing STEM education to students of all abilities and creating communities of acceptance for all.

The students work together to build and program a LEGO robot to play in a sumo wrestling type game competing against teams from other schools. In its first year, interest exploded and the program was featured by multiple national level broadcast and print outlets.

Special Olympics Washington has incorporated Unified Robotics as a Unified Sport into the Unified Schools programming, formally known as Project UNIFY.

The 2016 Unified Robotics season will be held from October 10 through December 3.



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