Bolles team studying para-athletic experience


A rookie team of fourth-grade robotics students from the Bolles Lower School Ponte Vedra Beach Campus is looking at ways kids with physical differences can better play with able-bodied athletes as part of this year’s FIRST Lego League project theme, “Replay.”

The league’s theme and project goal of “creating ways for everyone to get active and play” provides the framework for individual team competitors in FIRST Lego League to define their project goal for the year.

The grade four team is called Future Bolles Innovators, also known as the FBI. As part of their team training, they have been researching the Paralympic Games, a periodic series of international multisport events involving athletes with a range of disabilities.

Teammates learned there are many sports available for students of varying abilities. However, “very few schools include these sports in their activities,” said team coach and science teacher Carolyn Houston.

To further their knowledge and experience of adaptive sports, Houston invited son Timothy Houston and Dan Caldwell from the Brooks Rehabilitation Adaptive Sports Program to campus to offer the team a hands-on demonstration.

They brought six youth sports chairs for the team to try during a game of basketball in George Hall. The guests led a game of wheelchair basketball and wheelchair flag football. Students said the game was amazing and fun, but admitted it is hard to play, move and shoot in a wheelchair.

The FBI team will move forward with their creative problem-solving, designing a plan for athletes of all abilities to play sports together. Students will continue this work through the school year as they compete in FIRST Lego League tournaments.