Special Olympics Unified Robotics is a student-designed and student-implemented robotics program that originated in Washington state. The program brings the world of STEM and the sport of robotics to high school students interested in STEM—including many students who are often excluded from extracurricular activities. Unified Robotics is open to students with and without intellectual disabilities, as well as students with a variety of learning and behavior challenges. The program includes an equal number of participants as robotics team partners to train, strategize, and compete. Team partners work one on one with “athletes” (students with intellectual disabilities) to build robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS kits. Small teams create their own robot, including designing, building, and programming the robot. At a final tournament-style competition, each team presents its robot and the robot’s features, and competes in a game.
The Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education at the University of California, Davis has launched RoboBlockly, a web-based robotsimulation that uses a simple puzzle-piece interface to program virtual Linkbot and LEGO robots.
The Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) is offering ecoTech Grants of up to $2,500 to support inquiry-based projects in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields that leverage technology or use nature-based designs to address environmental problems in local communities.