Hands-on Activity: Able Sports

Contributed by: K-12 Outreach Office, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

A woman with a physical disability sitting in a wheelchair holding a tennis raquet and tennis ball.
Students design sports for individuals with disabilities
copyright
Copyright © http://womenshealth.gov/fitness-nutrition/how-to-be-active-for-health/physical-active-women-with-disabilities.html

Summary

This activity focuses on getting students to think about disabilities and how they can make some aspects of life more difficult. The students are asked to pick a disability and design a new kind of sport for it.

Engineering Connection

Biomedical and mechanical engineers design and test various types of prosthetics to better the lives of people with physical disabilities. This activity focuses on getting students to design a sport for people with a particular disability.

Learning Objectives

After this activity, students should be able to:

  • Describe key problems with four types of disabilities and the current solutions available.
  • Explain the basic knowledge of limited capabilities of people with certain disabilities and their compensating strengths.

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Educational Standards

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

  • New products and systems can be developed to solve problems or to help do things that could not be done without the help of technology. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • The development of technology is a human activity and is the result of individual and collective needs and the ability to be creative. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Technology is closely linked to creativity, which has resulted in innovation. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • The use of technology affects humans in various ways, including their safety, comfort, choices, and attitudes about technology's development and use. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Social and cultural priorities and values are reflected in technological devices. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Meeting societal expectations is the driving force behind the acceptance and use of products and systems. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Apply a design process to solve problems in and beyond the laboratory-classroom. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Specify criteria and constraints for the design. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Make a product or system and document the solution. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • The use of symbols, measurements, and drawings promotes a clear communication by providing a common language to express ideas. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Explain examples of adaptive or assistive devices, e.g., prosthetic devices, wheelchairs, eyeglasses, grab bars, hearing aids, lifts, braces. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Interpret and apply scale and proportion to orthographic projections and pictorial drawings (e.g., ¼" = 1'0", 1 cm = 1 m). (Grades 9 - 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Interpret plans, diagrams, and working drawings in the construction of prototypes or models. (Grades 9 - 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
Suggest an alignment not listed above

Materials List

  • sheets of paper
  • drawing utensils, as needed

Introduction/Motivation

You have been hired by AbleSports, a small start-up company that manufactures game/sports-related assistive technology. A new department has been formed to "invent" new, active sports to be geared specifically toward individuals with disabilities. Your team of designers has been chosen to lead development on one of these new sports.

Procedure

With the Students

Market research surveys show that the general public associates certain criteria with sports, and that in order for new sports to be potentially accepted by the populous, the game must incorporate the following:

  • Rules for play, including: Object of the game (for example, in football, the object is to get the most points; in chess the object is to put your opponent in check-mate), scoring, beginning and ending the game
  • A well-defined playing space
  • Scoring: How is a score made? How much is a score worth?
  • An object that is passed around within the playing space

Details of disability-specific criteria for your design are listed on a separate sheet. Be as creative as possible! You have no monetary restrictions. This new sport should not be an adaptation of a currently-played sport. Do not include fictional or not-fully-developed technology, such as time traveling devices or personal jet packs.

At the end of this class, you must produce the following to present to the other groups:

  • Drawing of your playing space
  • Rules of the game
  • Description of the playing surface (its material and dimensions)
  • List of equipment required to play the game
  • Description of the teams

Attachments

Troubleshooting Tips

A lot of students do not realize that people using crutches need them at all times to support themselves. Advise students choosing this disability that they cannot incorporate the crutches as a part of the sport (for example, use crutches like a tool to hit a ball, etc.).

Assessment

Evaluate the depth with which students engaged in the activity. Were all the criteria met? Is the game safe?

Contributors

Bonniejean Boettcher, Project Manager, Project Lead The Way, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Copyright

© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2005 Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Supporting Program

K-12 Outreach Office, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Last modified: June 7, 2017

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