robotics for high school

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.
Dave
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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. http://www.robots.net/rcfaq.html 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: http://dpein.home.netcom.com / http://lab-robotics.org / http://www.vu.union.edu/~robot /

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I have been involved in a competition for highschool students here in Australia for the last 3 yrs. It is an international competition and we have competed against many teams from the US. Checkout:
http://satchmo.cs.columbia.edu/rcj /
You can also try here:
http://www.robocup.org
It has more info about the other comps that are run not specifically for juniors (we saw all of these comps while in padua, italy for international finals this year).
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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

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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 get invented.
See ya, -Alan Kilian
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googling for "high school robotics contests" turned up this page, the panasonic one is geared toward Jerseyites:     http://www.bergen.org/Contests /

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:     http://www.hightechkids.org/fll/coaching/countdown/Weekly.htm     http://www.usfirst.org/jrobtcs/flg_tm.htm     http://www.usfirst.org/robotics/mentorgde.pdf
The "Team Organization" forum at Chief Delphi might be useful:     http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s dc4c33eb6c03a3f19869e5fc635021&forumid
John
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Dave,
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: http://madlabs.info/index.php?x=H2_FCRobot_Chron.asp
Regards,
Jonathan
www.madlabs.info

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Hey,
Keep us apprised of progress on the fuel cell robot, the project sounds facinating all by itself!
IMO, DLC
: Dave,
: 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: : http://madlabs.info/index.php?x=H2_FCRobot_Chron.asp
: Regards,
: Jonathan
: www.madlabs.info
: :> 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. :> :> Dave
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On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 18:53:31 -0800, dave e wrote

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 my drift....

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: snipped-for-privacy@renton.wednet.edu , for instance.
Good luck.

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How about BotBall? I have been participating BotBall high school robot competition for 3 years. We really like it.
www.botball.org
taudi
, for instance.

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