Updated: May 30, 2019
How much time does it really take for a student to be on a robotics team?
It depends. Like many things, robotics is a you get out of it what you put into it proposition. Unlike many school extracurricular activities, we don’t kick students off of the team. However, if a student doesn’t show up on a regular basis, they’re probably not going to have a clue as to what’s going on when they do show up. As such, we encourage students to participate on a regular basis and meet whatever commitments they make.
So... we generally meet for full days (usually 10 am - 4 pm) on Saturdays and one or two evenings per week (usually 6:30 - 8:30 pm). Meetings will occur more often during build season. For those directly involved with building and getting a robot ready for competition, they can end up working on it up to six days a week. When it’s crunch time towards the end of build season, the amount of time put in is dependent upon how much time students are willing and able to put in and to what extent that team adults are willing and able to support their efforts. It depends. Having said that, school (and occasional sleep) comes first.
As such, we don’t recommend that students attempt robotics along with other high commitment activities such as school sports teams, marching band, and theater. (As marching bands typically end by November, we can work with that if we know about it and the student is committed to our team once marching band ends.) We have a number of students who are active in school music programs with occasional conflicts which are manageable. In addition, many of our students are active in after school clubs such as Mathletes and Scholastic Bowl.
Attending our major competitions will require taking one or two days off from school. We are often able to schedule one of the competitions during a spring break week, but we can’t guarantee it. Please note that parents are responsible for ensuring that any school absences are okay with the school.
In addition to build activities and competitions, we often do outreach and fundraising activities as a team. We expect students to support our team by supporting these activities as well. Besides, they’re fun to do.