Trying to start a female robotics team, and upgrade the guys parts

Recently I have been helping out my sons Robotics team at the local high school, and its been great fun. They use a product called Vex, mostly because other schools do, and it means we are able to enter competitions and compete against other schools. Having a goal in mind for creating a robot is always an excellent motivator, especially when you can compete against others, take it back, adjust and modify, then go back every couple weeks and do it again.

The games they play in these scrimmages are changed every year as well which keeps the fun in it, and you find everyone finds their role that they are good at (driving, assembly, logistics, planning, etc).

Currently though, the team lacks enough gear to cater to the people wanting to join, in particular we would love to encourage more female members and perhaps setup a female team as well as give the guys team more parts since its larger.

Since the school as a set budget, I have taken it on myself to fund raise for this myself. I know I have a bit of tech following, so i figure why not see if other females in tech and people interested in robotics or tech will help?

So i set up a page on givealittle which charges 0% fees (unlike others) and have already raised a bit of money, In fact, i am quiet looking forward to being able to recruit more people! If you think you can help out at all, please donate, even if its a small amount!

My costs are as follows

  • $1300 for a beginner competition kit for the girls team
  • $700 + to get more parts for the guys team (they already have a beginner comp kit)
  • Any spare can either get more parts in general, or go into a wearable tech class i plan to start (to encourage more girls into technology!)

You can measure your work hours with a time card calculator and generate a time card for your payroll purposes.


Keeping your children amused during school holidays – geek style

Oh no! its that time again! I really dislike having to change my whole routine for school holidays, i have to pay a babysitter, or work from home (my employer is fantastic like that!), and generally try and keep the kids from going nuts with boredom.  During the summer its fine because they can play outside at parks, bike, swim, and go to camp. During any other season, chances are its to cold to do a lot of those things, and its often windy or raining.
So, what do you do? Well heres a few ideas I came up with for my kids.

rag-doll-kung-fu-fists-of-plastic-20080715052128948_640wGame Consoles: they don’t have to guns and sit down games, my children currently favour Kung Fu Ragdoll on the PS3 which involves shaking the controller, and apparently a lot of jumping up and down, tongue out the side of the mouth and often screaming. Keeps them amused for hours. I’m not overly fond of them sitting down much so we also have a WII which has tons of games that involve action and movement. Not to mention Rockband/Guitar hero which both involve drums, singing, and guitar!

Creativity: If you havn’t found it yet, check out , where you can make easy fast entertaining things like an LED stuck to a battery (aka throwies) , to building your own Yurt. In fact they even have their own category specifically for kids!

: If you have a GPS device and its a nice day, try . Sign up, put your address in the finder and look for Geocaches nearby. They give you the GPS co-ords, you go to the area and then the hunt for the geocache is on! its somewhat like a treasure hunt, only world wide. Once you find the cache, its usually a plastic container, you can sign the log book, log it on the website, and if it contains “trinkets” you can take one and put something else in its place. Geocaches are usually around the most scenic places in the world and include lovely strolls through areas you probably never noticed before. This also makes a long journey down New Zealand fun when you stop every hour or two to find caches! You can even start a few of your own caches! Check out my photos taken whilst Geocaching

Here are a few other awesome DIY items you can try:
ducttape-walletCreate your own Sun in a Jar
Duct Tape Wallets :
Diet Coke and Mentos: – however you may want a nice sunny day for this and some old clothes, and PROBABLY want to do it outdoors!
DIY things with solar panels

And should you have a computer setup for every child in the house, here are some  excellent non-social networking websites – Addictive educational games for kids. They wont realize they are learning whilst playing! – NASA have space related fun things to do – explore the Museum of Science and Human Perception Online!

Last but not least, go into your cuboards and drag out those board games. Cranium, Monopoly, Trivial Persuit, and the new favourite Hannah Montana game with CD (it makes you dance and sing!)