Recruitment at 8th graders

This is the first time our team has ever done something like this.
It will be in the 8th grade math classroom, during high school regents week. Has anyone done this before?
I am planning for a slideshow presentation, and possibly a robot.

The Junior High will have a half-day schedule, giving me about 20mins.

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We haven’t done something in a classroom like that, but our team has gone down to our middle school and let the kids drive the robot during their lunch period. We usually allow 7th and 8th graders

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I have helped out with plenty of these, especially at our feeder schools, both the middle schools and the elementary level. Definitely bring the robot! Consider ditching the slideshow, unless it’s mostly pictures of interesting things, and only a few of them. Bring at least one outgoing student who loves being on the team, and let her/him do most of the talking. Leave time for questions! Remember, interaction sells better than presentation.
Added: Probably too late this year, but two of 3946’s best recruiting events each year are “Cougar Fest” and “Tiger Fest” at the feeder middle schools, held on Saturdays. We always bring the air cannon and the current competition robot, and let students (and others) drive. Those are also a pretty good recruiting opportunity for mentors!

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We go every year to our two feeder middle schools to give a demo/drive-the-robot presentation during lunch. We also show up at their STEM fairs to do demos and interactive driving. It really helps bring in the recruits early in the year when they show up as freshmen. Definitely bring the robot, it really gets them excited to see a functioning piece of hardware and nothing beats the hands-on experience of driving it.

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Amen! No bullet points!

We demo and directly recruit from every middle school in the area. What gets kids that age most excited is seeing a moving robot and just having someone talk about the program.

We bring the robot over to the middle school. We take a bunch of kids who are on the team from senior to freshmen. The 8th grade kids are then put into three separate groups who rotate through two classrooms and the middle school gym. The team members in the first classroom go over our PR and Marketing group. The team members in the second classroom go over Design and Manufacturing. The team members in the gym go over our robot and have 8th graders, that would like to, drive the robot while they are assisting/supervising.
The team members describe what each section does and talk to the kids about their experiences on the team. Letting the kids do the recruitment works well for us.

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Is one student (who knows the most) and maybe a mentor ok?

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We usually found about 3-7 students was optimal, because it helps sell the program as a team/friends/family thing. If you only have one there, go ahead and make a power point or a poster showing the students designing, building, driving, cheering, and having fun together. Select photos which show a variety of emotions - joy of success, focus, laughter, and maybe even a bit of disappointment. Make sure the presentation uses “we” and “our” and names of some of several of the other students. Tell a story - don’t get bogged down in the philosophy (unless the audience leads you there).

Added: what might work well would be to select pictures that go with teamwork/success/failure/fun stories. Tell a story behind each picture, including using (first) names.

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Hello! My team has an eighth-grade program and the benefits of the program are INSANE.
We started this program at the start of the 2015/2016 season and has since been a prominent way we train and bring people through the program.

To answer your questions and to give my two-sense:

  • Presentations is a great way to get the kids involved! I would bring the robot, and have them watch the Einstein finals of Houston or Detroit (either work fine [we use Detroit because it’s us lmao]) and describe the program in a way so they can understand. I wouldn’t baby anything, because they will be in high school soon, but explain it like how you would explain to your Uncle at the family gathering when he asks you “What’s all this techy stuff you do”. If kids have descriptive questions, you can answer like you normally would. But you can describe the basic functions of the robot (“Oh we use air to control everything”, “We have an intake system similar to a vacuum”, “The robot is built to take hits, but it can’t move around 360 degrees”.)

  • Presentations, while on the topic of them, can work if you put in a bunch of pictures and describe your season. Don’t make it all informational and boooring. Maybe sharing personal experiences would work!

  • If it’s about 20 minutes, you don’t want to overstuff it like a baked potato. I had a similar time at the local middle school, and it’s hard to cover it all. I would make a list of the most important things you can cover (the program, benefits, the cool robot, etc.) and then focus on that. I wouldn’t focus on really anything else (but if you need help hmu)

  • From my experience, they LOVE seeing the robot in action, but if you operate it while talking, they will NOT listen to what you say, at ALL. All eyes will be on the hunk of metal and not focusing on the fact they could make it. Robot demonstrations should be AFTER your presentation, or during videos such as Worlds unless its an information video (which FIRST has a lot of on their youtube page!)

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Is there a video that you have in mind? I’m thinking the 2018 Houston Einstein one would be a good video but the camera keeps moving.

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We’ve done this for the past 5 years. With mild success.
This year we invited the 8th grade FLL & VEX roboticists (rising freshmen): sending them personalized invitational letters and certificates. We sent 23 individualized invitations. We’ll see how successful this has been.

Not really, I havent done my annual search for one yet. I would look around when you can