Outreach Ideas

Hey CD,

I am 2910’s Activities Coordinator/Director of Marketing, and I was wondering if anyone had some ideas for fun and inspiring outreach activities for the spring and summer. We already go to all of our school district tech events, as well as the WA Sea-fair, and multiple college-hosted events. We do have a robot made specifically for outreach, with a 4-Wheel pneumatic drive train. If anyone has any ideas i’d love to hear them!

Why don’t you look inward? Get your whole team together and start brainstorming. Unleash your creative side.

Figure out what your target audience is. Young kids? The community as a whole? Figure out what your goal is. Recruitment? Just “getting your name out there.”?

Remember that there’s no right answer here. Do whatever strikes your fancy and fits within your budget/manpower constraints.

Form a Relay for Life team and use the opportunity to form connections between your team and other community organizations.

The TechnoKats have provided support for the local Relay for Life luminaria ceremony for many years. We show a scrolling list of names on a multi-sided projection display that was originally intended to resemble a paper-bag-style luminaria. We also run a midnight dodgeball tournament for the event.

We have a t-shirt launching air cannon that we field at football games for internal recruitment. Our primary external outreach is just to demo the most recent year’s robot, letting middle schoolers (among others) get in a test drive.

We are also building up a “robot petting zoo” consisting of a roomba and other (mostly COTS) “huggable” robots.

One thing we are working on is having a demo bot that kids can drive by actually sitting in it I got the idea from FRC 67 who had one of these a few years back at IRI. We are also working on a t-shirt cannon robot that we can use for pep rallies and football games, but then also rent it out to companies who are holding functions or to museums who have STEM days, it is an outreach opportunity and a fundraiser. We do this by using one of our mentors companies he is a graphic designer so our idea is we design shirts for that company print them off and then also make vinyl sign with the companies name and velcro to the robot.

Try contacting a children’s museum near you and see if they have a science/technology day. Those seem to go over well with teams.

I’m not sure about your area, but also look out for any kind of comic con or something similar. We had a team from our state go to a local comic con and it was a huge success.

Other things you could do is maybe hold some sort of competition. Like Alan said, hold a dodgeball tournament and have the participants pay a dollar or two, or bring in canned goods and donate whatever is collected. It’s a good way to spend a two hours or so plus you can give back some.

Besides doing demos at the museum, MOE is working with a local children’s museum to hold a monthly Design Your Own Robot contest. The team members pick a winner each month from the entries at the museum, and each season does a CAD design and 3-D printed model of one of them. In the past we had published coloring books with the winning entries - an older one can be seen here:

http://moe365.org/more2/KidsLuvRobots2008.pdf