If You Could Have The Robolab of Your Dreams...

I have been given the opportunity to add to / enhance the robolab at camp. Currently we have two challenges (one for 9-11, and one for 12-14 year olds.) They have ~10 hours during the week to build/program a mindstorms robot (w/pre-built chassis) to complete various tasks on the table, along with a few more hours training in building / programming techniques and viewing a power-point presentation on robots like ASIMO and PSA. [And the “Roving Mars” IMAX is coming in next month. Should I plan to keep an eye out for an appearance Dave?] However, all that is in the lab right now is the Lego supplies, tables, chairs, laptops, competition tables, smart-board, and lockers.

I am looking for things that have high educational value, but are not EXTREMELY expensive; as they all have to be approved for purchase. *

Any one have any Ideas on ways to improve the program? Or things that might be good to buy?*

I believe you’ve got a nice set up there already. I can think of lots of things to add, but not of interest to 9-14 year olds. The only advice I can offer is that you have something for the students to do to release energy. 9 year olds can’t sit down for 7 hours nearly as well as high schoolers. However I would love to hear more about your camp in explicit detail. Team 1726 is holding a robot camp this summer(for the first time) and would welcome any advice.

Their robot time is spread out between other activities… so they have plenty of time for us to wear them out in other places.

Maybe you could have the students build their own vex bot and do a build season, like session where they split off into sub-teams to complete a task, such as a past FRC competition. moving boxes around and then hanging on a bar??

Maybe a Rube gold-berg project which is a series of simple machines linked together so they transfer energy to do a simple task. In my school district the junior high has been doing it for years in it’s intro to tech classes all using scrap wood, string, marbles and hot glue.
here are some links (a pic is worth a thousand words)
Movie This is a movie that has nothing to do with the rube gold berg until Half way through