Activities for Stands-Based Team Members

My team has 16 stands-based people. We need 8 people for scouting, so each person spends approximately half their time scouting. I’m trying to find ways to better utilize the other half of that time, so that students don’t end up hunched in their seats playing on their phones, bored to death.

We’ve tried having a schedule, so students know when they’re needed for scouting, or other jobs, like runner, photographer, videographer, mascot, ambassador, etc. Beyond that, we’ve provided a list of things to do - ways to soak up all the robotics goodness all around at a competition: Take pictures of robots, talk to teams, find out about a new scouting system, watch matches, etc. But most of our students are new enough or shy enough that they don’t do these things.

I want to come up with some more concrete “activities” to complete. I made bingo cards with the team numbers who will be present. Something earns you the square for that team, and prizes are awarded for rows, columns, or the full card.

What have you done on your teams? What do you personally do at a competition when you’ve got “free” time? What do you think is the most important thing to get out of being at the event?

Thanks for the advice :slight_smile:

Toby McAdams
Team 2491 No Mythic coach

It’s always difficult to keep everyone involved. I have 38 students on my team and we have jobs for each. We have multiple stand scouts at all times that rotate out during the day. So that takes up about 10-12 kids on the team. We also have a mascot and requires three kids at a time, one being the mascot and the other two to guide. Then our four person drive team is in full time job mode. We also have four people in the pits at most times.

We also had lead cheer members that keep everyone else in the stands involved. There is no time to be on phones or being bored. This all worked out very well this year as we took home spirit award at RPI. In fact, my voice is still not ready for me to be teaching today!!

Do they not just watch the competition to watch robots? If they’re playing on their phones, there’s honestly not much point in then being at competition at all…

Here are some ideas:

  1. Bring a small shop vac in your pit and have team members look for pits that could use a cleaning-- offer to vacuum their pit for them. (avoid ones that are frantically working on their bot.)

  2. Hang out near the public entrance (esp. on Saturday) and approach folks arriving and ask them if they are first timers, help them find their affiliated team’s pit, or in cases where they just came to watch, offer to sit with them in the stands for 20 minutes and explain the game, talk about FIRST, and so on. Many times folks can be found already sitting in the stands who are intrigued, but confused. Make sure they know about visiting the pits.

  3. Visit other teams and invite them to come sign your volunteer appreciation poster on foam board at your pit- Use the poster as your alternate team ‘flag’ at your last qualification match (or during elims if you know you’ll be in them), and let the Emcee know what it is.

I don’t think it’s really your job to keep students in the stands occupied. There’s plenty to do at events- walk around pits and chat with teams, take pictures, and (dare I say it) watch matches. These are high school students- they don’t need planned activities or games to play. If they’re at an event, they should want to be there, and if they’re bored that’s not your problem.

Ooh - I love those ideas! I agree that it’s not my job to “force” students to do interesting things, but I hadn’t thought of any of these ideas. That helps!

1138’s idea: