The team I’m on has been tasked with drumming up interest for a new VEX robotics team in a nearby technical school. We have two robots (a protobot and a competition robot from Round Up), and are planning on letting the prospective students drive the robots during a presentation time.
One catch: The presentation is during lunch in the cafeteria. Competing with friends and food isn’t easy (especially for high schoolers.) Any ideas to help make our demonstration as attention-grabbing as possible?
Offer the students food! :p, I’m only half kidding. Maybe find a way to turn it into a small competition. Get four teams, and play one or two game elimes. Once a kid is involved with a robotics competition, the majority of the time they will get hooked.
You could set up a couple of round up goals and have students compete to see who can score the most in a minute (robot skills). The student who scores the most during each lunch period wins a t-shirt or some nice prize.
driving the robots around in general will attract lots of attention!
make sure you have enough batts to last a whole lunch period!
if you have the resources, maybe you can set up a projector screen with animation vids of round up and gateway?
thats what we did to promote our club at the school
The FRC team I mentor uses their robot from Lunacy as their demo bot. It picks up the balls and shoots them out. Students of every age have absolutely loved to play with this. You should be able to build something pretty easily that could pick up whiffle balls or something similar and shoot them out. Give them a laundry basket as a target and let them have fun.
How big of a venue are we talking? For smaller numbers, I’d make a few bulletproof demo robots and let interested students drive. Give them a sense that they’re involved before actually getting involved.
For larger groups, I recommend something mobile and eye catching. Throwing always comes to mind, and if you have some serious free time, maybe venture into this realm:
Pretty much the plan there is since there probably won’t be enough time for everyone to drive a robot without things descending into chaos. That lets you bring the excitement to them. A good demo-bot in an invaluable team resource.