2 ways to volunteer: become a mentor OR volunteer at the competition
Become a Mentor
Make a lasting impact on a student’s future and help build the technology workforce of the future by becoming a Team Mentor! This competition uses robots and programming to engage students in learning the practical applications of science, technology, engineering and math.
Watch middle and high school students grow as they design, build, program and document their own autonomous robots to compete in a fast-paced tournament. Teams are advised to purchase a robot kit including microprocessors, sensors, motors and software.
Your role as a mentor can have a profound influence on students and teachers in your area!
As a mentor you can make a difference in a student’s life:
- Build a student’s confidence in his or her own abilities to solve problems.
- Expand their knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math.
- Be a positive role model to middle and high school students of all backgrounds.
- Introduce students to careers in technical fields they may have never considered.
- Serve as a resource, sounding board, coach and cheerleader.
- Challenge students to learn new skills and concepts in an exciting environment.
- And, have a great time!
Mentors come from a variety of professions – engineering, science, technology, computer programming. While students design, build, program and document the robot themselves, your expertise as a resource and trouble-shooter is important to a team’s success.
Mentors provide coaching in areas such as:
- Robot Design
- Game Strategy
- Computer Programming (Java or language of chosen platform)
- Website Design
The time commitment for mentors will vary depending on the team. Many mentors schedule regular meeting times with their team. Typically, meetings are held once a week and other communication occurs via e-mail or phone. The number of hours you contribute depends on your schedule and the team’s skill level. We do our best to match mentors and teams by proximity.
Volunteer at the Competition
For any event to succeed, people must be in place to make things happen. The organizing committee is actively seeking volunteers for both days of the competition.
Please contact us if you are interested in helping out. Below are the descriptions of the various areas where volunteers are need, see the Rules page for the description of the activities.
To sign up as an event volunteer, please fill out this Google form.
Security and safety during the event is important for all volunteers to monitor. If you have a question please ask the Chief Judge. Only teams and their mentors are allowed into the classrooms. The auditorium is open to participants and family members. There will also be Science Center personnel at the gate between the Center and the main competition room. General public members should be not be in the main room except the area designated by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center personal.
Scorekeeper (Saturday and Sunday)(1 position)
Responsible for maintaining the standings of all the teams throughout the competition. It is important to have the standings of each team as soon as they are awarded points. The standings of each team should be displayable, on the projector provided, through the competition except during the times as designated by the MC, such as the opening ceremony. The Scorekeeper is also responsible for creating the Awards Ceremony slideshow, which is used by the MC during the this ending ceremony. Use the available runners and other assistants during the competition to keep the scoreboard up to date. If you have a laptop then please bring it but you will need to provide a VGA adapter for the projector. There may or may not be Internet access.
Mission Runner (Saturday and Sunday)(many positions)
Make sure you have the team lineup for the mission and make sure the teams are at the ready. This may mean you have to “run” back to a class rooms to find a team. Make sure you know what teams are in which classrooms. If the mission includes a score make sure it is given to the Scorekeeper when the team has finished the mission. Provide the judges for the Coolest Robot, Rookie Award and Excellent Teamwork trophies with inputs for these awards.
Videographer (Saturday and Sunday)(many positions)Take pictures and videos during both days of the event. Coordinate with judges and any assistant videographers to capture key moments during the event. Produce a 10 minute video for posting to the iARoC website. Key video areas for to capture completely: Opening Ceremony on Saturday and Sunday, the Mission Briefings in their entirety, key moments in each challenge preferably all 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place standings, the initial team and robot pictures prior to the Recover Data Mission and any other event that you deem appropriate.Overall Judge – “Coolest Robot” Award (Saturday/Sunday)(1 position)
Take input from the other judges as well as your own observations to determine which team will receive the Coolest Robot trophy. Provide assistance to team members, and family of the teams, provide event times and places.
Overall Judge – “Excellent Teamwork” Award (Saturday/Sunday)(1 position)
Take input from the other judges as well as your own observations to determine which team will receive the Excellent Teamwork trophy. Provide assistance to team members, and family of the teams, provide event times and places.
Overall Judge – “Rookie” Award (Saturday/Sunday)(1 position)
Take input from the other judges as well as your own observations to determine which team will receive the Rookie Award trophy. Provide assistance to team members, and family of the teams, provide event times and places.
There are 5 missions the teams are involved in: Recover Data (Saturday), Technical Briefing (Saturday), and Public Relations (Saturday/Sunday), Survey Route (Sunday), Claim Mineral Resources (Sunday).
Mission: Recover Data
Overall Judge – Recover Data (Saturday)(1 position)
You are actually running the Recover Data Mission. With the help of your fellow judges, and personnel to assist you, keep the mission on time. Make sure the teams, and their race times, are recorded by the Scorekeeper. Ensure the teams and robots are photographed before the race by the Videographer. After making sure the Lane judges are ready you will be the one to yell “ready, set, go”! Coordinate with the MC on any announcements before during or after a race. Make sure the results of each race are given to the Scorekeeper at the end of each race. Provide the judges for the Coolest Robot, Rookie Award and Excellent Teamwork with inputs for these awards.
Lane Judge – Recover Data (Saturday)(2 positions)
You will have the stopwatch for the team in your lane. You will make sure the team is ready to race and lined up appropriately. If a team is not present ask the Runner to find the team. If there is some discrepancy with the team call over the Overall Judge confer with and resolve. Assist in making sure the teams and robots are photographed before the race by the Videographer. When the “Go” is yelled and the race begins start your stopwatch. Monitor the race and when the robot touches any point on the end bar stop the watch. Present the team name and time to the Overall Judge Recover Data. Provide the judges for the Coolest Robot, Rookie Award and Excellent Teamwork with inputs for these awards.
Mission: Technical Briefing
Guidelines Technical Briefing (Saturday)
The Technical Briefings may consist of the static display as well as conversational interaction with the team. The focus of the briefing should be on the software program the team has created which is used by the robot.
There will be a panel of 5 judges for each mission briefing. It is preferable that the same 5 judges listen to all teams. Each team must present within the time allotted and there is a short amount of time for questions and answers. At present the format is up to the team. A reminder, the intent of the competition is to have one autonomous robot which can handle different missions. We have 3 mission at present which involve speed, navigation, memory, problem solving, obstacle avoidance, along with IR detection.
At the end of Day 1, the panel of judges will determine the rank order of all the teams. This rank order will be used to determine the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place points. The teams vary in ages from the 5th grade on up to the 12th.
Here are some areas that the judges should be focused on:
- Weighing programming skills over speed, it is easy to have the robot run fast down the maze but the real challenge is the program to solve the maze.
- Judges should be able to review programming sequences/commands which pertain to mapping or remembering route.
- Credit for logic, if the code is presented and explained.
- Credit for execution, in this case did the robot run the program.
- Credit for presentation skills.
The final list of the team rankings should also contain a memo about how the robot should behave in each of the other 3 challenges. This will be used to correlate with the actual running of the robot in that particular challenge. It should be as simple as Recover Data: Go Straight and fast. Survey Route: right hand rule or left hand rule, or maze solver. Claim Mineral Resources: Combination of Speed and Nav plus IR detection, or bump and go random.
Each judge will have a note sheet to write any information about the presentation in order to assist the judges in ranking the team after all teams have presented. A final sheet, one for each team, will be handed into the Chief Judge with the final rank number and the 3 memos as mention above.
Please see Technical Briefing Rules for more information.
Provide the judges for the Coolest Robot, Rookie Award and Excellent Teamwork challenges with inputs for these awards.
Overall Judge Technical Briefing (Saturday)(1 position)
Responsible to the panel of judges evaluating the Technical Briefing conducted by each team. Along with being on the panel you will make sure that there are a minimum of 5 judges, counting yourself, on the panel listening to each team. Grade sheets will be provided to each judge. One judge must be selected to operate the video camera in the absence of a dedicated Videographer for this event. One judge should be designated the timekeeper for this event. At the end of the the last Technical Briefing you will manage the panel and fill out the final review sheet for each team. You will notify the Scorekeeper and the Chief Judge and turn over the final review sheets and all the individual judges sheets to the Chief Judge.
Panel Judge Technical Briefing (Saturday)(4 positions)
You are part of a panel of 5 judges ranking each team on their Technical Briefing.
Mission: Public Relations
Overall Judge Public Relations (Saturday/Sunday)(1 position)
Responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the team presentations to the public. You will also be talking to the public about the competition and about iARoC. Make sure the teams are signed up to present at least once, though this presentation is not mandatory it does earn the team points. If a team is signed up and is late or missing please use a Mission Runner to go find them or take a note that the team did not show up. Provide the judges for the Coolest Robot, Rookie Award and Excellent Teamwork with inputs for these awards.
Mission: Survey Route
Overall Judge Survey Route (Sunday)(1 position)
You are actually running the Recover Data Mission. With the help of your fellow judges, and personnel to assist you, keep the mission on time. Ensure the teams and robots are photographed before the race by the Videographer. After making sure the Lane judges are ready you will be the one to yell “ready, set, go”! Coordinate with the MC on any announcements before during or after a race. Make sure the results of each race are given to the Scorekeeper at the end of each race. The Chief Judge is available for any issues that may arise. There will be a master clock for the event and the schedule must be kept, no slippage. You will start the segment for 2 teams running at the same time and stop the segment for both teams when the allotted time is up. Make sure the teams scores are recorded and handed off ScoreKeeper. Coordinate with the MC on any announcements before, during or after a race. Please review the rules of this challenge. If any team has a robot that has solved the maze please pay close attention to how it navigates the maze.
Lane Judge Survey Route (Sunday)(2 positions)
You interface with the Team Captain who will indicate which team member is allowed to pick up the robot from within the maze. It is very important that only one team member be allowed into the maze. It is also very important that no one else enter the maze. When the Overall Judge has started the challenge this will be the first “Go” of the challenge. At any time the Team Captain can indicate stop and the team member can pick up the robot to restart at the beginning. If any team has a robot that has solved the maze please pay close attention to how it navigates the maze. You are responsible for seeing if the robot is learning the maze and trying to solve the maze. This will be most obvious if the Team has finished the maze at least once. The robot should not make any “wrong” turns. If a robot does complete a “perfect” maze run it will be monumental!
Please review the rules for the Survey Route Mission.
Mission: Claim Mineral Resources
Overall Judge Claim Mineral Resources (Sunday)(1 position)
You are actually running the Claim Mineral Resources Mission. There is an order to the starting lineup determined by the previous challenges. Make sure each team selects their starting “gate”. Make sure the 3 IR Beacons are operational. Make sure the Beacon Judges are ready. You will be the one to yell “Ready, set, go!”. Make sure there are 3 stopwatches running at “Go!”. Ensure that only Beacon Judges enter the arena before or after the start of the challenge. No one but a Beacon Judge is allowed in the arena. There will be 2 islands inside the arena for 2 Beacon Judges to retrieve any robots that the Team Captains want retrieved. Usually this is when a lego mindstorm goes up against a roomba. Safety of the robots is paramount in that humans can trip and kick them by accident as well as other robots. When a Beacon is activated several things must happen quickly. Stop on of the stopwatches, unplug the activated Beacon (to turn off the IR), retrieve the robot and remove it from the arena. The challenge is over when all three beacons have been turned off. Make sure the Beacon Judges with the stopwatch record the results and turn them into the scorekeeper.
Stopwatch Judge Claim Mineral Resources (Sunday)(3 positions)
You have a stopwatch and will be recording the time for a particular Beacon. Make sure to coordinate with the other 2 beacon judges to determine which beacon you will monitor. At the “Go” start the timer, when your Beacon is activated stop the timer (stopwatch). You will be on the outside of the arena. After you have stop your timer make sure the Beacon is unplugged to turn of the IR. Record the time and team name on your grading sheet and pass it to the Scorekeeper.
Beacon Retrieval Judge Claim Mineral Resources (Sunday)(3 positions)
Only Beacon Retrieval Judges will be allowed into the arena before and after the start of the challenge. You are the ones who must listen to the Team Captain in order to retrieve a robot from the arena when required. This is usually because the team has decide to resign from the challenge and save their robot. Be aware of robot safety but most teams will be watching their robots to make sure they do not get into any danger. There will be 2 Beacon Retrieval Judges inside the arena protected by an island of PVC. Please be aware you can affect the outcome of the challenge if you get in the way of moving robot while performing your duties of retrieval. The most likely instance of retrieval will be when an IR Beacon is activated as you will be the closest inside to get the robot out of the arena quickly. The 3rd Beacon Retrieval Judge will be outside the arena but moving into “hotspot ready to jump in for retrieval. Please coordinate with the Team Captain on the best way to lift their robot.
Mission: Pi Countdown
Overall Judge Pi Countdown (Sunday)(1 position)
Your mission is to listen to the team recite the number Pi to the nth digit and maybe make sure it is correct. We may have team that can do it for several hundred digits. We have an award for this outside of the point system and this event happen in the interlude while the judges are confirming the overall point counts. As there is only 15 minutes for this event we may need several judges to listen at the same time and allow the MC to go from team to team with the microphone. It might be best to have a sheet with Pi printed out in order to check off the numbers.