Organizing multiple kits?

I’m currently (well, for another week at least) in charge of caring for five RIS kits. I’ve tried to keep the parts in the box, but the end result is both messy and ineffective (as parts seem to migrate from kit to kit).

For those of you who’ve dealt with multiple kits, how do you keep them organized?

I never did it with RIS systems but we did the robolab kits. I had like 6 kits, and i established very early on that trading or getting parts from other kits was not permitted. Then i made sure the kids understood they were responsible for the kits. Finally i had them always do a quick inventory with the included cards in case anything was missing. But they were 4th graders. Best thing you can do is just make sure they put them away the same way, gears in a certain spot so on and so on, then you can glance over them and make sure that all the pieces are there. If all else fails you just gotta join all the kits together then sort everything by part. So you know that at the end of the day you are supposed to have 16 60 tooth gears in a bin.

A good way to handle it would be to buy a few big compartment tool box things (sorry I cant think of a correct name or better descriptor :o ), or just get some other sort of storage unit. We have several mindstorm kits in the same class room, each in their own box, and then we divided them up into the compartments by common parts, like gears, 1x4 bricks, motors, senors, etc. You can probably do a few different things depending on how specific you want to get in keeping the stuff apart, like gears in general or specific sizes of gears.

I tried a fishing box last year, but it seemed to be too much wasted space, and even partially built robots didn’t fit in for storage during the week.

So I switched to a different solution and tried it out last winter when I taught a beginning robot class to 3rd and 4th graders. I had one kit for every two students, five kits total. I went to Michael’s, our local craft store and got a large bead box (specifically the large "Keeper™ Box, by Lap Desk Inc. ~$2 on sale). It has 20 compartments and rounded bottoms (very important for extracting small parts).

Then I went to Target and got a Sterilite container (~$3 on sale). (11.5" x 18" x 7"). The Keeper fits inside the Sterilite.

I sorted all the small parts into the Keeper. You have to be creative since there aren’t enough compartents to keep them separate, so I joined parts based on similarity (connectors, gears, 1x2s etc). If a part didn’t fit in the Keeper, then I put it in the bottom of the Sterilite. (Large parts: The beams, except for the smallest, wheels, the electrical components, etc)

Finally, I set the Keeper on top of the parts in the Sterilite and put the lid on. The Sterilites stack nicely, so it made for easy transport.

Once we got going, I found that the robots would fit in the Sterilite if the Keeper was left out. So I got some dual-lock tape and attached the Keeper to the top of the Sterilite lid. This still allowed for stackability and gave additional space as needed.

I numbered the Keeper, the Sterilite and the lid, and assigned a kit to the pairs of students, so there was no confusion as to who’s was what and what went where. I also did not allow part trading across kits, except with my approval.

We have about 10 or 12 kits I believe with lots and lots of parts (I think we got extra lego sets too). Anyway, we keep everything in big Sterrilite bins and have lots of trays and plastic organizer boxes inside. We tried to keep identical kits, but that didn’t last for long. Currently we have everything organized by like parts. (one bin full of RCXs, another full of batteries and chargers, all the motors together, all the gears together, all the beams together, etc) Everything is super organized like by the size of the gear, or length of the beam. When we build, we setup a couple tables with all the parts, and then everyone can easily find what they need. We let them take as many of anything they need as long as they are not hogging something another team needs. At the end of the build and competition, we tear them down and put all the indivicual parts away into their containers/trays as best as we can with the time we have.

It should be noted that we don’t do lego league, we use legos for preseason training and fun. :slight_smile:

That’s what I use for my two Mindstorms kits (used to be just one, but I won a second kit Friday from an OSU summer engineering camp!) and most of the expansions, plus other miscellaneous stuff. :slight_smile: