Where can you find everything from feathered turkeys to sailing pirates using sensor feedback to control their wheel motors and follow a road? Only in a robot parade.
Tip: This is Not a Building Contest
In our conversations with Maine robotics club advisors, the most common concern we hear is that the pre-conception of Legos as a building toy causes students to focus more on erecting gigantic structures than on learning to control the robots with code. Students who are less aggressive about vacuuming up supplies are disadvantaged and drop out. For info on the disparities some students face when they work in teams, see a Dartmouth study.
To ensure equal opportunities for all students, consider having 1:1 robots. For financial help in obtaining adequate equipment, see our grants page. If 1:1 robots are not feasible, consider giving each team a concrete list of what would be their fair share of equipment. At a minimum, set expectations with students before they sign up. One teacher said that when she announces the club each year, she states up front, "This is Not a Building Contest."
Here's a compilation of snippets from around the web, showing musical instruments that folks are creating with EV3. Yo-Yo Ma, look out!
Tip: Add, don't Replace
If you already have an existing competitive Lego Robotics program, great! Keep it going to serve the students who feel comfortable in that environment. Then to attract different types of students, try adding a different type of program -- like one of the ideas on this page. Need help with leader stipends and equipment purchases? See info on our grants.
We don't have any direct experience with a carnival yet, but with support from a Gizmo Garden grant, Windsor Elementary is going to try it. This video compilation of snippets from around the web makes it look like a blast!
Tip: Showing Off
Instead of projects culminating in competitions, try celebrating completion with an exhibition! MIT and Wellesley professors say it's just is motiving and welcomes a wider diversity of learners. Other students and family love seeing student creations!