What does your school think of robotics?

Does anyone else have the problem of being considered the “Geeky” or “Nerdy” team at school? A lot of the teams I’ve seen at competitions seem to have a lot of support from their school.

Interestingly enough, my kids were talking about this just the other night. They were talking about how it’s more the cool kids who are on our team this year, the swim team, the wrestlers and I think George said he played polo? But anyways, while I was afraid of this happening, this year, it didn’t. I’m very pleased by that.

At the girls’ school, we’re considered the “geeky but cool” club, somewhat like the drama club (which is pretty intense here). It seems that pretty much everyone knows of what we do, and many are interested to hear stories from the regionals. People are especially hyped about the team participating in Championships… We get A LOT of support from peers, teachers, and administration - which is completely awesome compared to the first year, when the team was just considered a “shadow” of the Science Olympiad club.

My point being - it takes time, but every team will eventually find its way toward establishing school support.

haha! I wish my school was like that. The other students have no idea what it is and they make fun of us for it. Were are defintely the nerds but hey we like it and we have gotten used to it so it’s all good. It makes us tighter as a group. :slight_smile: The administration and teachers love us though so thats a plus.

pretty much our whole school knows of the robotics team, and it seems that a lot of the people with whom I have spoken know, appreciate, and support what we do.
We get a lot of support from our peers, teaching staff, and administrators

  • Rafi Ahmadullah, nerd and proud

Funny Drew, we are in the same team and I dont feel that way. :confused:
In my opinion people in schoo people l aren’t aware of what goes on with our team. However they dont make fun of us, they are actually pretty good friends and most of them understand that rootics is something that we like. Also some peple that are not relly interested in robotics have joined our team because of the artistic part of it. I will agree in one thing with you Andrew the staff and teachers love us. So Drew next time someone makes fun of you, let me know. lol :smiley:

Dave

Hmm… I usually get something like, “Cool! You guys build battlebots or something?” from the general public, “Robotics is eating you alive!” from my friends, and “How’s the autonomous code coming along?” from teammates.

Depends on who you talk to… Some people think it’s awsome others think we’re losers… But hey, it’s their loss not ours, not one night goes by when we don’t have 1 really good practical joke or stupid comment that you need to stop working for about 5 minutes just to laugh at somebody. (we don’t take offense because everybody has their night to get picked on, just some have more nights than others.)

Teachers- Ask about it ALL the time and are proud of us for making an effort that is academic-based
General Public- “Battlebots? COOL!” Me- “No actually (_____ insert nerdy and factual content based on that years game here” General Public- “ooh… I guess I’ll… check that out sometime”
Fellow students- “Oh, so you’re in robotics? interesting…” Some ask what it’s like, some consider you a geek and laugh, others think it’s great and become team members!!!
Fellow Team Members- Well… we just love being “geeks” despite the fact that we’re really cool! :rolleyes:

We don’t have too much of that kind of problem at our school. Our school is for nerdy and geeky kids. :wink: (it’s a magnet school).
Our school never really was too involved until 2003. We incorporate teachers to come “babysit” one night in the build season so that our head advisor doesn’t have to stay each night. This year, we had 15 teachers step forward (some for more than one day!) and help us out. It was great!
Also, our administrators weren’t too into the robotics thing until January 25th, which was Thank Your Mentor Day. We had a little “Tea With The Robot” thing, celebrating our mentors and sponsors, inviting the community, parents, school advisors and teachers, political figures, sponsors, possible sponsors, and, of course, our mentors. Our administrators came to the TWTR, and they were so amazed at what we do. They said it was a shame they found out about what we were really doing now, than earlier. All of them were supposed to come to our regional, but unfortunately things came up and they were unable to attend, but they will be watching Nationals! =)
I’m very excited about their involvement. They really will be a big help to us next season, once they get even more involved (since they found out so late this season).
You see, this is why FIRST is so amazing. Anyone and everyone gets psyched about it. No matter who they are.

We’re pretty unknown to most of the student body, but we’re respected by the people that know about us.

We try REALLY HARD to emerge our team into school life. Sure, we may get the geek comments occasionally- but for every “your such a geek!” we get, there are ten more, “That’s so cool! How do I join?”
That means more to me then getting everyone in the school to not label us as geeks- it’s the people we’ve actually impacted that count.

Being our first year, our school hardly knows we exist, and if they do they think it is some geeky club. But that is about to change. The shadow claw can not be ignored! Plus, they don’t realize how much fun it is…and addicting too.

Our team has members from two schools. At my school, the teachers love it, and my friends think it’s pretty cool, although I think they get tired of hearing about it after awhile. The yearbook editor loves it, and she’s finding space for a ton of pictures. Most people think it’s something like battlebots, and they just go “Oh” when I try to explain, though some of them ask how to join. They apparently announced our team at the winter sports assembly, but we were at Chesapeake that week.

From what I hear, members from the other school get pretty much the same reaction from students and teachers, altough the yearbook isn’t as into it.

Our school board absolutely loves us. They’ve promised $10,000 from the budget next year for us, and we had the Superintendant and Assisstant Superintendant at our regional. Some of our mentors are from the board, too.

People already thought I was a geek before I joined robotics, so there’s really no difference, there. :slight_smile:

Haha, I get the same exact thing, minus the autonomous thing, we leave that to Kyle O and Mike K.

Our team is considered the lesser known geeky team at school…I actually dont think more than 55% of the school knows we have a robotics team…and this is our third year of being a team!

We dont really get made fun of too much I guess, I mean, occasionally, but mostly we just get playful or not too serious jokes made by friends.

But does anyone have any ideas on how to make the team more well known, accepted, and liked? That sounded kinda wierd, I meant to say, how do we get more students interested? Everyone I ask to join says, “Oh I can’t do that, i’m not smart.” How do you guys get the word out that Robotics is fun, no matter if you can progam a robot or not?

I talk about it all the time, and eventually the amount of fun it is seems to sink in. One of my friends, the least technical person I know, is considering joining just because I make it seem like so much fun. I guess that would be considered word-of-mouth, and I don’t think it impacts more than a few people at a time.

Actually BUILDING the robot gets a lot of people on our team. “Power tools? NICE!” When my friend and I originally said, “I can’t join that… I break everything!” Our team advisor told us, “Good… We’ll give the robot to you guys for 10 minutes, and then we’ll know what we need to work on!”

I believe that my school has a pretty unique perspective on FIRST robotics.

You see, we only have 450 students, and only about 200 of them are high schoolers!
I think we have about 30 registered members from our school, so 15% of our school is on the team!

We are a district wide school, who use a lottery to tell who they admit, so we keep our numbers consistently low. FIRST robotics is the only high school sport we have! For anything else (soccer, football, tennis, etc) you have too go too your local high school.

After we won the PAC NW regionals for the second time in a row school spirit in support of the team has really sky rocketed. We sell t-shirts almost every day. The astounding support has even amazed me, it was “cool (read: popular)” to support the robotics club!

I’ll talk briefly about our school specifically and then hopefully provide you with some useful advice on changing the attitude your school exhibits towards your robotics team. “School” is kind of general so I’ll break it up into individual categories.

Administration
Our administration is very supportive of the roboraiders. Both our principal and superintendent visit us at the NJ Mid-Atlantic Regional. Every year they are very impressed and make an effort to congratulate everyone on our team at the competition. The school board also recognizes us at a local board meeting by congratulating each one of us individually. The board meetings are aired on a local channel. While they don’t provide significant monetary aid, they help out where they can. For instance, this year they are purchasing us our own trophy case. They’ve allocated us space along a wall at the high school This should go a long way in showing the school how successful the robotics team is.

If your administration is not particularly helpful, I recommend inviting them to your closest regional competition. Have them see how exciting and powerful a regional competition is! Maybe even give them a presentation on your team so that they see how cool a FIRST team is.

Faculty
I’m positive every teacher at our school knows about the robotics team. Teachers always ask me how the season is going, etc. Many teachers ask for demonstrations during their classes. The only advice I can give you on spreading the spirit of FIRST to the teachers is to give a presentation on the team at a faculty meeting.

Students
Peers are absolutely the most difficult group to convince that a FIRST team is cool. At our school, it’s hard to pinpoint a general feeling. Some people see us an elite group of science students who do amazing things with engineering. Others see us leaders and college-bound students. Of course there is the group who see us as geeky, but not in a bad way.

I think the key ingredient in exhibiting an image of “coolness” is to show the school how successful you are. No matter what team it is, students want THEIR school to perform well. Also show them the non-robotic parts of your team. We’ve shown our 3D animation to the entire school… and everyone is always so impressed. Give demonstrations during lunch periods; if anything, they will at least respect you for your amazing achievements in building the robot. Try to get a group of diverse students involved in robotics. This goes a long way in spreading the message of FIRST to the different cliques in the school.

In the end, don’t worry about it too much! Just have fun!

This was from an article in the school newspaper about us getting letters:

  “The Robotics Team is smart,” asserts Joseph Slaughterbeck, a junior involved in various athletic teams, “However; they don’t break a sweat like the football and track teams.”
  This perception is refuted by most Archer GEeks members, Paul Verdeyen, a third year member, claims that mental work can outweigh physicality.  “Whereas we don’t physically put in as much work as the sports teams, we put in as many hours, and sometimes more.”

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