Case Study: Robotacular
Robotacular is an immersive learning experience run by chronyko for groups of between 10 and 60 people. At the event the group is divided into smaller teams of 4-6 people who design and build their own fighting robot. Once constructed and tested the robots then battle against each other in the Robotacular Arena in order to find the champion.
Hosted in venues as diverse as hotel conference rooms to old aircraft hangars, the participants have a day to work in their teams to design, build and battle their robots. This provides the team with a challenging yet fun project to work on together as whilst they are given guidance on their mission and the technology, they are left to find the approach that works best for them. The difficulty of the challenge they face can also be increased in various ways, for example, by applying resource constraints where the teams need to purchase the parts for their robots using an “in-game” currency.
We use Lego Mindstorms components for the robot build for several reasons, but primarily as advanced fighting robots can be built and operated with zero prior knowledge within a day. As there is no requirement for any level of technical knowledge it is also an activity that appeals to people from many backgrounds, although experience has shown us that those in technical roles generally engage with the challenge more quickly. Additionally, Lego Mindstorms also allows the robots to be controlled using a variety of alternate technologies and programming languages. This can be used to extend the learning outcomes into the domain of technical skills development if required.
In every event the key is to provide the group with the experience of finding a solution to a new and complex problem. In doing so it allows them to explore how they work under pressure, but in a safe space where they are free to explore ways of working without fear of failure. Also, as the teams are free to work together on some of the challenges they will all face during the event, while also competing against each other, they also get the chance to explore the concept of teamwork within a competitive environment.
As a result a wide variety of benefits can be realised as it allows self-directed learning of collaboration and problem solving and ultimately leads to greater confidence about their adaptability and ability to deliver. These are all key aspects of a high performing team and the benefits to the group and the organisation can be significant.
Our events are all designed using our approach and methodology, as a result there are many different options for customising Robotacular to meet your learning outcomes. Some of these include:
- the addition of other Robotics challenges including navigating a blind maze, a circuit race or following a line.
- the use of resource constraints to encourage cross-team collaboration and making compromises in the optimal solution.
Duration: 4-8 hours
Ages: 12 and up
Venue: Meeting, conference or events space
Learning Outcomes: Finding solutions to new and complex problems, competition versus shared goals, reward for success.
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