I am a high school science teacher at a public school in New Jersey.
Several students at my school have expressed an interest in a
I have several questions for the readers of this newsgroup:
1. Are there any robotics competitions for high school students other
than the "FIRST" competitions? Or does FIRST have some sort of
monopoly in this area?
2. How can any high school possibly afford to enter the FIRST
competition without corporate sponsorship?
3. I'll take any other bits of advice you care to give me about
starting a high school robotics club.
You should be able to do a search on "robot contests" at Google and get a
lot of hits to check out, you can narrow it down for your region.
has a list of contests and FAQ's.
If I remember there are some robotics clubs in your region, they usually
host contest(s) of some sort to get in on with your students.
Not all contests are as expensive at the FIRST ones. Some are cheaper and
some cost even more.
Wall Following, line following contests are quite popular, you can hold your
own too. These robots can be made fairly cheaply too.
Some clubs in your region:
Creating contests can be just as fun/creative for the students as it is
trying to compete in one. Encourage the students to create a competition.
You could also propose a "challenge" i.e. given some constraints, design
a robot to do a task. Winners can be "first one", "most obfuscated",
"most creative", etc...
Also, in order to get girls involved with robotics/math/science you could
enourage girls vs. guys team contests...
You can try to get local businesses to help sponsor teams/prizes and then
invite local press to cover the competitions.
Hope this heps...
See ya, -ingo
Hey Ingo!!! It's been a long time since I've heard from you!
Last week, I was in our old stomping-ground. The ETH in Zurich.
I didn't get to see Bruno Loepfa, but while I was looking at the
cutaway jet engines in the mechanical engineering building, I
noticed a "Student-worker wanted" poster talking about a project
using electro magnets to position a "micro-robot" inside a tank
of fluid, and the professor was a guy I have taken a class from
right here in Minnesota! Dr. Brad Nelson. He moved to the ETH
about a year ago, and has a nice lab with 7 students.
So if you ever get back there, you should visit his lab. Very nice
experiments on how to do micro robot stuff. Pretty crude right now,
but someone needs to know how to position these things when they
See ya, -Alan Kilian
googling for "high school robotics contests" turned up this page, the
panasonic one is geared toward Jerseyites:
FIRST is expensive, as is a basketball team, school band, etc. NASA will
fund a team for the first year or two (check the FIRST website for
details, look for "Grants").
Some of the FIRST and FIRST Lego League materials apply, also look for
Destination Imagination, Odyssey of the Mind, Scouting, 4-H, etc. I
particularly liked these Weekly Lessons:
The "Team Organization" forum at Chief Delphi might be useful:
We started our club (a general high school science club) with a grant from
our local equivalent of a PTA. Our first, and so far only project has been a
hydrogen fuel cell powered robot. With this grant, we got going and soon
found companies willing to donate parts. Once you have something to show, it
is pretty easy to raise funds. The tricky part is getting started. Several
times I have had to dig deep into my own pockets to keep the project going.
So, I guess this doesn't directly apply to you, as we are not entering any
contests or anything and aren't a robot specific club. However, if you ever
wanted to consider a fuel cell powered robot, let us know. We would be happy
to help out!
You can see the robot at:
Keep us apprised of progress on the fuel cell robot, the project sounds
facinating all by itself!
: We started our club (a general high school science club) with a grant from
: our local equivalent of a PTA. Our first, and so far only project has been a
: hydrogen fuel cell powered robot. With this grant, we got going and soon
: found companies willing to donate parts. Once you have something to show, it
: is pretty easy to raise funds. The tricky part is getting started. Several
: times I have had to dig deep into my own pockets to keep the project going.
: So, I guess this doesn't directly apply to you, as we are not entering any
: contests or anything and aren't a robot specific club. However, if you ever
: wanted to consider a fuel cell powered robot, let us know. We would be happy
: to help out!
: You can see the robot at:
:> I am a high school science teacher at a public school in New Jersey.
:> Several students at my school have expressed an interest in a
:> "robotics club".
:> I have several questions for the readers of this newsgroup:
:> 1. Are there any robotics competitions for high school students other
:> than the "FIRST" competitions? Or does FIRST have some sort of
:> monopoly in this area?
:> 2. How can any high school possibly afford to enter the FIRST
:> competition without corporate sponsorship?
:> 3. I'll take any other bits of advice you care to give me about
:> starting a high school robotics club.
On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 18:53:31 -0800, dave e wrote
(in message ):
Larry Richter and Geoff Newing at Lindbergh High School in Renton, Washington
have developed a great regional robotics competition for high schools near
Seattle. The last competition, Robohog 2003 attracted 80 some teams from
more than a dozen schools. Nearly 300 contestants! The contest is really
the culmination of a great curriculum they have developed to teach high
schoolers engineering and sciences. It has also brought some students not
traditionally interested in these fields into the fold.
They invited me to help judge, since I am Boeing's oldest living roboticist.
I went to the first competition 3 years ago expecting a couple "propeller
heads" and thought I had wandered into a basketball game by mistake.
Hundreds of screaming fans, cheerleaders and some very creative designs.
They have a different challenge every year. Last year, for example, the
contestants robots had to gather seed corn and put it into a bucket on their
side of a 4 X 8 foot arena. The robot with more corn than their opponent
won. They have also done robohockey. The rules are proposed at the
beginning of the school year and students spend the rest of the year
designing and building their entries. All the entries must be built from a
standard set of parts that costs a couple hundred dollars.
Larry and Geoff started this competition because the expense for FIRST limits
the number of teams that can compete, excluding kids that could be inspired
by a more inclusive project. The corporate sponsorship can also lead to some
investment of corporate pride, and a reduction in student content, if you get
Find a local tech company or two and engage their experts. Even companies
that won't sponsor can contribute expertise to help you get started. (Geoff
and Larry nabbed me, didn't they?) Check out local robot clubs. I know
Geoff and Larry have a pretty good relationship with the Seattle Robotics
Society, for instance.
Ask folks who have done it: email@example.com , for instance.