Presentation to the school?

Hey there CD! Well, our robotics team is starting to lose some people and worse off is that out of the two schools that we’re comprised of, two of the three teachers at one of them are retiring next year, so there won’t be as much emphasis at that school. I was thinking of talking to the administration along with the team to see if we could get presentations to the school about joining robotics.

Not many people know about our team, but we’re not that shabby, and it’s such a fun experience as all of you know, and we really need to spread that to everyone.

So I was thinking we could make a presentation, as well as playing our Chairman’s Award video, and maybe running a robot or two on stage to show the people what they’re like.

So far, as topics I have to cover, are:
State how awesome the members make the team
Show how the dedication and such can be good preparation for college
Give a description of the season
Show how we help the community
Explain FIRST
Show how fun the competitions are
Show how close bonds are formed, especially through our Alumni network

Do you guys think this is a good idea and do you have any suggestions?

Thanks so much everybody! :smiley:

Presentations at school are always good. Here’s what we do:

  1. pep rally at school: Describe what we do, who we are, drive robot to impress people.
  2. Demo robot at open house, driving it in the halls
  3. Freshman thingy (don’t know the name of the event), we display the robot to freshmen.
  4. Lunch: We set up a table in the CAF and let students drive the robot. We do this one around application time. People love it (especially this year, attempting to kick balls at their friends)

What I do for Exploding Bacon when I set up Demos at my school is basically bring the robots, lots of advertising (or things to pass out like trifolds), and a sign up sheet for those interested. What we do is drive the robots making people involved by driving the robots up to them and interacting with them. This year we got a few new students from my school. Sometimes you might even get mentors, you never really know until you try.

I wish you luck

Andrew

P.S. We set up our “booth” where the most traffic is at school, for instance at my school the center of the courtyard or outside of the cafeteria have the most traffic.

Personally, I would feel the opposite… If someone’s robot is kicking a ball at me, I would be pissed, I suggest Football Games, make a mascot robot… But that really won’t work, people either care about the game or the cheerleaders, no one cares about half time or anything

I think presenting to the students at one of or both of the schools that your team represents is a great idea! It’s a really good way to generate interest in the team (to students and faculty alike), and I think it’s fairly common among FIRST teams. My team presents to our incoming freshman class every year at their freshman orientation, in addition to participating in the activities fair that is held during lunches to show students all the clubs that the school has. We also participate in other local events, such as our town fair, which not only excites students about the team, but is also a good way to share our work with the community, and sometimes results in donations, new sponsors, and new mentors. In short, running demos is beneficial to teams in many ways: you share your work with the community, gain new students/resources, and practice presentation and public speaking skills. I definitely think you should go forward with your idea. The content you’re thinking of including also sounds really good. My only advice is if you’ll be doing a formal presentation, like at an orientation event, you should try to keep it short and sweet so you don’t bore the audience. Good luck!

We have Forums at our school. Juniors and Seniors eat lunch first and the Freshman and Sophomores eat lunch. While the other group is eating lunch we have teamroom. sometimes the school has forums which take the place of teamrooms. we have shown off our robot there. Most of the time the students are the ones explaining and talking about what robotics is. Otherwise it just seems like a long lecture to kids when a mentor is up there talking about how robotics is good for college and teaches you things and what not. We also display our robot at freshman orientation.

I have a feeling that they would care much more if the robot involved T-Shirts being launched at them :stuck_out_tongue:

One of the most important things for people to know about the school robotics team IMO is “Anybody can join, no experience required”. I know many people who don’t really want to join the team because they think they couldn’t be useful to the team

We do yearly assemblies to the divisions of our school. I presented ours last week.
We focus on the accessibility of robotics (no prior experience necessary), the experience (the competitions, the trips) and the bonds that we all share. The most popular part this year was shooting soccer balls at the student body president.
We did find that we had a spike in participation when we started winning awards. While that may seem shallow, I think it picks up on a broader theme that if you highlight the successes of your program, and people see that you are confident and proud of what you do, then they are more inclined to join.
We finished with our team captain speaking about what robotics did for him, as well as showing an assembly video. I’d advise against showing your chairman’s video, as the audience for the chairman’s is much different than people who have never done robotics before.

Our assembly video can be seen here:

and last years:


(Can you see the difference a dedicated video department brings? :stuck_out_tongue: )

contrast that with our winning chairman’s video:

Hope this helps!

That is a good point. I know a lot of people who say “robotics would be awesome and I will come to the competitions but what will I be able to do for the team?” You can mention Build team, Programing team, but also mention Marketing team and other teams you may have. If people like doing art, they can join. Posters? Websites? Advertisement? There are so many things that you need people to be able to do on a team so try to show as many as possible.

I know even more people that don’t want to join because they would get teh “nerd/geek” labelled on them… I was hesitant too, I was like DGAF, Im in AP Computer Science, you can’t get any geekier than that… and I fell in love

Great ideas in this thread. I would like to add a couple of things. When talking to administrators who need to be comparing FIRST to all the other school activities I would stress all that you have and other students have learned since joining FIRST that could never be taught in the classroom. I would also stress how it is like a work experience that mirrors what goes on in a real technology based buisness. It helps to show them why they need to spend time and money on the program.

We try to do presentations at the school as often as possible, as it is a big plus in getting recruits. These are the ones we think are really useful:

  • Freshman Night: This is where our school welcomes incoming freshmen to tour the campus and get a feel of what the school has to offer. We take the robot out and drive it around. We think this is great, because it gets students interested before they are exposed to high school “labels” and “cliques”

  • Club Rush Day: Not sure if other schools do this, but our school has an extended lunch this day for people to sign up for clubs. They don’t let us drive the bot around, but we usually have it opened up, and people are usually intrigued by our messy wiring :stuck_out_tongue:

  • T-Shirt Shooter at Football Games: This is probably what finally stripped us of the label as the “geek/nerd club”. We finally got people to realize what we do was pretty awesome and generated a good amount of interest. People came up to us after every game saying, “That was really cool, how’d you make that?!”

Presenting at school is a great idea, and it looks like you’re off to a good start.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend showing your Chairman’s video (EDIT: either); make a new clip that’s aimed at your audience. This goes for in general too: always consider the audience, be they sponsors, FIRSTers, potential recruits, future recruits (younger students), potential/future parents, STEM professionals, etc. For potential recruits (and sometimes future), we find that music videos go over really well. If it’s an assembly, consider playing something as students come in/out or right at the beginning (or any 2 of those, 3 can be kind of overkill). If you can’t make your own video, I’ve found “Get Ready For Your FIRST” (2008) is good for short filler, especially if you put a “FIRST Robotics” title in front (otherwise it can be a little confusing). There are some other clips in the resource center that are good as well.

As far as preparation, Definitely have the (multiple) students talk, and practice beforehand to get it polished and keep it exciting. Not only does it show students how big/varying the team is, it changes things up and keeps people awake.

Also consider what you want your medium(s) to be. Assemblies can great depending on your school, but smaller forums–booths in the cafeteria, open houses–can also be very effective. They’re more personal/one-on-one and perspective recruits can really get involved by talking directly to members, asking more questions, looking up close and/or driving.

We also do quite a bit geared towards parents directly. This may not lead straight to FRC recruits (we get more emails from middle school parents about VEX), but it can really get the word out and generate a community feel.

Here’s the amazing thing about marketing, you can apply so many faces to a project. This means you have to know your audience. Now, I don’t know about your school. But here in Avon, talks about colleges and whatnot would put people to sleep. We talk a lot about that with parents, but when it comes to students we tend to put that on the back burner. The truth is, most incoming freshmen and sophomores aren’t really that interested in that yet, and they don’t really need to be.

Try this on. Consider and advertising campaign with signs that say things like “Interested in art? Want to go into graphic design? Stop by this room and this time.” It’s a different target audience that has a different skill set that, while not normally robotics prone, you and I both know is heavily important for a team to function properly.

Now I know you’re talking about a school presentation so that may not be what you’re trying to do right now, so let’s focus on that. First off, who’s your target audience? The entire school? Have you considered talking to the middle school? They’re the best resource because they’ll be coming to you guys next year. Get the seeds of robotics awesomeness planted early. As far as your actual presentation, again use some of those marketing faces. Don’t talk so much about the robot, because FIRST isn’t really about the robot. The robot is simply a key or a tool that grants you access to all the other amazing things such as competitions, prizes, etc. You should also think of cool ways to build up the excitement, like incentives to attend the first meeting, and so on.

Remember, you’re a marketer now. Be smart about it, and it’ll be awesome. Best of luck :slight_smile:

Here’s the amazing thing about marketing, you can apply so many faces to a project. This means you have to know your audience. Now, I don’t know about your school. But here in Avon, talks about colleges and whatnot would put people to sleep. We talk a lot about that with parents, but when it comes to students we tend to put that on the back burner. The truth is, most incoming freshmen and sophomores aren’t really that interested in that yet, and they don’t really need to be.

Try this on. Consider and advertising campaign with signs that say things like “Interested in art? Want to go into graphic design? Stop by this room and this time.” It’s a different target audience that has a different skill set that, while not normally robotics prone, you and I both know is heavily important for a team to function properly.

Now I know you’re talking about a school presentation so that may not be what you’re trying to do right now, so let’s focus on that. First off, who’s your target audience? The entire school? Have you considered talking to the middle school? They’re the best resource because they’ll be coming to you guys next year. Get the seeds of robotics awesomeness planted early. As far as your actual presentation, again use some of those marketing faces. Don’t talk so much about the robot, because FIRST isn’t really about the robot. The robot is simply a key or a tool that grants you access to all the other amazing things such as competitions, prizes, etc. You should also think of cool ways to build up the excitement, like incentives to attend the first meeting, and so on.

I could not agree more with this.
When running demos you are advertising your team and need to come at it from an advertising/marketing angle.

My team went through this kind of recruitment crisis in 2008 and 2009 when the team administration changed schools and for those two years we had maybe 5 or 6 students in total from schools other than the administrating school.

I would suggest approaching whoever does announcements at your school(s) and seeing if they will make an announcement about your team or if you have TV announcements make a “commercial” and see if they will show it.

My team has started recruiting from the 7 high schools in our District, as well as the Junior High schools.

Alot of great ideas are already floating around here. I would have to agree, put on your Marketing face. First you must do an assesment of your team needs. Once you find out what type of people you need, then focus on those classes. For example, we need people that specialize in filming and photography so we steer our advertisements towards the Audio Visual Department. We needed people to give presentations to potential sponsors so we go after the DECA, Drama and AVID departments. We focus on the Creative Writing classes for doing the award submitals, the wording on all of our literature and website. We look at the economy and accounting classes for our Finance Department.

Like it was stated earlier, know your audience. Show them that it’s not all about just building a robot. A lot of people think that the team is all cutting things, drilling things, and connecting things. With some people you have to focus on the support side of your team. Another way is have them be your guest at an actual competition. When I first came on as a mentor, it didn’t really hit me as to how big this thing was until I went to the Regionals here in San Diego. It blew me away as to how huge it is!!! I never heard about Robotics until then.

I wish you good luck and keep us updated!