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RoboDesigners
05-09-2011, 09:16 PM
The VEX 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? :)

Thanks,
Andrew

Alex Dinsmoor
05-09-2011, 09:32 PM
The thing that seems to draw interest to any lunchtime activity at my school is loud music. Anything popular will draw people in like mosquitos to a bug light.

We have also found that having an extremely nice table set up (with tablecloth, trophies, tons of literature, laptops with videos playing) effectively generates interest. This would be your first impression to the students and if they see you as an organized team who looks good and has fun, they are more likely to join.

Lastly, have a game plan for your demonstrations. Going into an event like blind can leave you disorganized and unprofessional. What we do is we have pre-determined activities for the students to partake in (such as a 60 second game driving the robot trying to get as many points as possible) and use these activities to show the public that anyone can be on the team.
For example, we used our 2009 FRC robot to play a game in which a student would try to score as many orbit balls as possible into the trailer in a 60 second period (this activity was at the Boy Scouts of America Robotics Merit Badge preview at Oakland University), and we kept scores of how many the kids did in the time period. We efficiently drew in a large crowd that wanted to watch kids play with and learn about robotics.

Hopefully some of this helped!

Karibou
05-09-2011, 10:25 PM
Simple: provide cookies. (your school might not like it, but the kids will!)*

Try and avoid over-crowding. You do want to attract a crowd, but try and spread your presentation out so that there isn't a giant mob of kids around one tiny table. Regardless of how much space you have, make the most of it! Large crowds can scare some people and cause others to just walk past because fighting their way to the table isn't worth the effort.

Don't forget to smile! Looking and being friendly will attract more people than you may think. Looking bored, even when traffic is slow, is a turn-off. Make sure that your team is wearing their shirts, too. Organization is attractive.




*I'm kidding. Get permission if your school offers cookies to purchase as part of the lunch menu.

Hawiian Cadder
05-10-2011, 03:40 AM
make sure to use a lot of motors so the robots are very loud, even if nobody is at the table, its hard to ignore a noisy little device driving around.