We might think that a competitive robotics team is only for, well, robotics students – the kind of kids who push for their schools to order the Revolution Robotics Challenge Kit so they could build their own robots and engage in some friendly competition. But we’d be wrong: The Revolution Robotics Challenge Kit promotes more than STEM skills (or science, technology, engineering, and math), it also offers an education powered by STEAM (which fuses STEM with the arts and humanities). A robotics team isn’t just for the tech-savvy youngsters; it’s a chance for kids with all kinds of interests to work together while sharing their talents and skills.
Every team needs its cheerleaders. Social butterflies are always welcome to join Revolution Robotics teams – they can serve as one-person pep rallies, spreading the word about all the unique work that the robot-builders are doing and inviting a friend (and a friend of a friend) to the latest tournament. Budding poets, novelists, and news reporters might also make natural recruits for a robotics team: They could apply their wordsmithing skills to flyers for the tournaments, work on program leaflets for competitions, or pitch articles about the whole team to local papers and blogs.
There’s also plenty of room for the future Picassos to join with the future robotics wizards – artistic students can design team logos that can be printed onto t-shirts, stickers, coffee mugs, and water bottles. They can also help their more tech-minded team members learn to think more spontaneously and creatively in responding to challenges. Bringing the homeroom socialites together with the presidents of the poetry clubs and the can create an innate marketing and branding team. We should also remember that there all kinds of tech geeks in the world – a robotics team doesn’t just need amateur scientists and technicians; they also need members of the AV club to pitch in. Aspiring videographers and podcasters can help create the film and audio that documents the team’s hard work, thrilling discoveries, and moments of victory – while, of course, also promoting the challenges.
Robotics team members can find inspiration even in a seemingly unlikely place: Their athletic peers can teach them about the value of discipline and training – after all, it takes a lot of swings and misses before you hit a homerun, a lot of laps around the track before you can race to the goal posts. They might also turn to the mental gymnasts of chess players, video gamers, or role-playing game aficionados – kids who are used to thinking strategically, and can come up with unique solutions to intricate, complex situations.
A robotics team doesn’t just have to be the kids learning code or putting the nuts and bolts together – it’s a collection of bright young minds eager to learn, grow, and support each other. We would like to hear your student stories. What are some of the roles on your robotics team?