I am a student in 8th grade that is currently trying to bring a robotics club/team to my school (6-9th) next year. I have prowled the internet in search of information revealing things such as what would be needed, how much would be needed - basically all the specifics.
I was wondering if anyone could give me a general layout as to how I would go about introducing a robotics club/team (basically all the things I would need, when we could meet, etc.) to my school would need to make it successful in order for me to present to the administration. Recommendations are much appreciated, thanks!
Go to see your principal and let him/her know of your plans. You might even get a lot of support right away! I know when I approached my principal when I was being hired asking if the school had a robotics club, her response was quick “We would love to have one!” The next step is to identify a club advisor in the school who will act as the responsible adult. You can recruit kids by showing them videos of the game and team videos on line. Look for some promote videos from online challenge - they are kid produced and really resonate well with how kids feel about competitive robotics. Once you have people lined up at your school, go to roboticseducation.org and look up team grants. They support the start of robotics team by providing a robot kit and season registration for the first season. You can contact local RECF Regional Support Manager who can put you in touch with area teams who can help you out the first season.
Best of luck! You will never regret this journey! Kudos to your family and school for giving you the confidence to reach out to a forum to start a team! Too many middle school kids are overwhelmed to even try!
My suggestion is find a coach who’s willing to learn along with you, ultimately most teams are made or ruined by their coach, ideally a coach can analyze teams build and see where improvements can be made, then helps the team view their bot as to see its flaws.
A few rules of thumb vex sucks at linear motion, any consistent auton is better than no auton, be ready to put in a lot of time as a newbie how ever long you think something should take multiply by 4, once you are a vet multiply by 2.
And a lot of schools will at least try to help get you guys started, but it can be expensive … but schools tend to find a bit of money to help support this sorta thing it is nerd stuff for crying out loud, if nothing else as long as you have a coach they will probably at least give you guys permission to have a team.
If you want to start a robotics club in a middle school, I’d personally recommend vex iq as it is much cheaper than EDR.
Been there, done that…
Having a mentor (or mentors) ready is a great help.
Your program might be volunteer driven or school driven, but you’d need resources - space, time and money. Besides school administration (which might be excited about the initiative but not able to help much), you could try consulting your PTA if they have a general framework for enrichment programs and can dedicate a part of the budget, cover insurance over volunteer driven program and so on.
Years ago, my kids have brought the VexIQ program to their new middle school thanks to the VEX/MoonBots cooperation (video(from 120s)). What could the Principal do after being handed 3 full IQ kits in front of all the kids
To answer this part: Our VexIQ program is after-school, PTA-funded and supported, with parent volunteers overseeing the students. Yearly, we form 5 teams of 6-7 students (typically only 4-5 students per team remain the full season) based on their grade level (k-8, so we have both ES and MS teams) and availability.
Each team got assigned one day of week for an after-school meeting. We’ve got an access to a room where we could keep an assembled field (space to meet is crucial, even though we have shared a classroom and only had the field in the corner, covered by a blanket during classes).
The typical team meeting is 1.5h, but to be honest, 1.5h a week is not enough to be really competitive.
Besides parent mentors (with rather limited, if any robotics experience) overseeing the teams (“herding cats”), I have run a few after-school classes (much fewer that the students would need/deserve) on general design and RobotC programming.
For VRC, multiply everything (space, time, cost) by 4.