“Unified Robotics was started last year by a high school robotics team in Washington state. The program was such a success that the team presented it at the FIRST World Championships in 2016,” he said. “I attended their presentation and knew the idea was something we needed in Oklahoma.”
When he returned from the competition last year, Moore approached Principal Teresa Wilkerson and pitched the idea. He then went to Cherie Miller, who teaches the transitions program which provides special needs students with an opportunity to learn job skills for a successful transition from high school to adulthood. Miller was excited about the possibilities and the opportunity for her students.
As part of the unified program, the students design, build and program a robot to compete in a "Battlebots" style game. Their robot has to operate autonomously and push their opponent's robot out of a ring without leaving the ring themselves. The robots are built using Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits.
Thanks to a grant of $1000 from OG&E Energy Corp, the robotics program at MHS was able to purchase four Mindstorm kits and four expansion packs for the teams. Two-hundred grants were written and 35 were awarded across Oklahoma.
“We are so thankful for the grant from OG&E,” Moore said. “It will bring together students of diverse populations and abilities as teammates, provide leadership opportunities, and pave the way for social inclusion while breaking down stereotypes surrounding students with special needs and STEM. It creates yet another chance for MHS to fulfill its mission of people working together with purpose, passion, and pride to ensure learning for all.”