RoboRAVE NY: April 7, 2018

Register now for training and competition

What is RoboRAVE?

RoboRAVE is a Robotics Education program to teach students and teachers how to design, build, program and test robots to perform a variety of tasks. It's also a Robotics Competition for teams of all ages and experience levels to test their design in one or more challenges at regional and international competitions. The parent organization is RoboRAVE International.

RoboRAVE New York will host a robotics competition on April 7, 2018 at Oxford Academy and Central School, featuring 5 challenges--including a judged entrepreneurship opportunity--open to teams of all ages and experience levels. We also look forward to a very special guest from NASA!

COMPETITION SCHEDULE, SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 2018 (times approximate)

8-9:30 am: Check in and practice

9 am: Track Monitors meeting with RoboRAVE International Director Russ Fisher-Ives

10 am: Opening Ceremony

Post-ceremony till about 3:30 pm: competition, scoring, and tournaments (all teams eligible!)

About 3:30 pm: Awards/Prizes and Closing Ceremony

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How is RoboRAVE different from other robotics competitions?

RoboRAVE is different from other robotics competitions because many barriers to participation have been removed.

COST. As long as you follow the rules for the challenges you choose, you may use ANY software and ANY hardware to make your robot. You can even make your robot from salvaged parts if you want to--see the website for information. The team application fee is $0 -- the team fee has been waived for this first year of competition thanks to the support of an anonymous donor.

ELIGIBLE TEAM MEMBERS. RoboRAVE accepts teams of all ages: from elementary-aged students (beginning at age 8) to adults. Participants can come from public or private schools, home schools, colleges, businesses, organizations, and the community. Teams can join us from any region, state, or country. Teams are organized into 4 categories:

  • ES, Elementary School: 8-10 years old
  • MS, Middle School: 11-13 years old
  • HS, High School: 14-18 years old
  • BK, Big Kids: university students, teachers, engineers, hobbyists, etc.

Each team can have 2-4 players with an optional coach. The team division is determined by the oldest player on the team, although those up to the challenge may compete in a higher division.

SKILLS. No experience with robotics? No problem! Every new skill starts somewhere, and you are very welcome here.

IS THERE ANY OFF-THE-TRACK COMPETITION? Yes! The Entrepreneurial challenge is competitive and the RoboEthics challenge is volunteer, and neither uses robots following tracks. Check them out, especially if you have a business idea or are interested in debating for and against drones.

LOCATION. Anyone can participate in the New York competition, even if you're from another continent. The cool news is that Oxford Academy and Central Schools in Oxford, NY is the center of RoboRAVE operations in New York State. We are in scenic Chenango County, roughly north of Binghamton, south of Syracuse, west of Utica, and east of Ithaca. Small school, big opportunities!

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm not part of a team and don't know any coaches. What can I do?

Contact Mr. Mark Muller at or 607-843-2025. He can help.

What challenges will be offered in this competition?

  • Line following
  • Entrepreneurial
  • A-maze-ing
  • Jousting
  • Fire-Fighting

Learn more here.

I'm interested in coaching a team. What do I do first?

  1. If you are not familiar with robotics, contact your school's Media Specialist and ask if you can borrow a WeDo 2.0, LEGO robotic kit from DCMO BOCES, then just start playing with it. If you're already familiar with WeDo kits, you can use an EV3 LEGO Kit from BOCES and play with that too. Our BOCES has plenty of kits so don't hesitate to inquire.
  2. Next, visit RoboRAVE New York to learn more, especially about the competition challenges. The a-MAZE-ing challenge would be a good start.
  3. Sign up for RoboRAVE Competition training at DCMO BOCES on January 23, 2018 or February 22, 2018. If you can't attend the training, contact Oxford Academy teacher and RoboRAVE organizer Mark Muller at 607-843-2025 for more information.
  4. If you're not affiliated with a BOCES for borrowing kits, you can buy kits through Amazon and others, or even built a robot from fround parts. Remember that you are not restricted to LEGO brand kits for robot building and coding. You can use any platform including Arduino, Vex, Raspberry Pi, or whatever you can put together.

What does it cost to register a team?

Nothing in 2018, thanks to an anonymous sponsor. Team registration is free. (See video below about how to register.)

How much time do we need to prepare? How often do you recommend that teams meet, and how should they use their meeting time?

Primary schools beginning with 3rd grade can use science class to prepare for the competition. If your school has a LEGO club, this can be another excellent time to prepare. Whatever works for you. (See next question for a possible timeline.)

Is classroom preparation during the school day enough?

Yes. The competition happens April 7, 2018. Students can get used to playing with robots and coding up to about January, then specifically work on the challenges they want to participate in for the next 2-3 months until competition time.

Is it expected that preparation should be as intense as, say, the Odyssey of the Mind competition?

RoboRAVE has three goals: fun while learning, sharing, and teamwork. If your team does those three things, your participation will be successful no matter what the competition outcome.

Actually, I don't know anything about robotics. Is this out of my league?

NOT AT ALL. Connect with DCMO BOCES to get the WeDo 2.0 kits to start. Robotics look and feel like play to students of all ages, and they can step up to more advanced kits like EV3 LEGOs -- or any other robotics platform kits -- as they make progress. You can make your robots from these kits and bring them to the competition. If you don't have access to a BOCES through which you can borrow kits, you can buy them retail, including from Amazon.

RoboRAVE preparation is a great way to start student exploration of coding (downloadable instructions come with these kits) which you'll use for the competition, with RoboRAVE's bonus fun event at the end!

Preparing for the challenges will guide their learning during the months before the competition itself. We like the a-MAZE-ing Challenge and the Jousting Challenge for those just beginning.

What basic robotics skills should our team have? How can we learn those skills?

LEGO does an excellent job teaching from their kits, but any other platform will work and can be used in the competition.

First get used to programming the robots. Then, play with the tracks, watch the videos about the challenges you choose, and read the rules (all on the website). Playing IS the teaching: notice what does and doesn't work, solve problems, try something new, begin again. Teachers can guide, suggest, notice, and play too!

What kind of robot must we bring to the competition?

Rules for robots used in each challenge appear at the red "Rules for 2018" tab under the description on our website of each challenge. The rules don't even let you enter a wildly expensive robot (the limit is $1,500). Cost should not be a barrier to robotics -- especially because you don't even need expensive materials to learn and build fun, workable robots.

Yes, you can learn through and build robots out of the LEGO kits we've mentioned but you can also you use any other platform including Arduino, Vex, or Raspberry Pi. You can even make robots from salvaged materials.

What other resources do we need to bring to the competition?

Bring a laptop with your robotics program already installed on it, and the robot you've built. Also bring extension cords and USB cords for charging your devices.

If you want a full-size track to practice on, you can order them through the DCMO BOCES Print Shop. Indicate that you would like a full size mat: 3 ft x 5 ft.

What will be available at the competition?

Outlets for laptops, tables to work on, mats for competition.

How much time do our teams have to work on each challenge at the competition?

There will be several runs. See the rules for your challenge.

How can we make the most of team failure?

Keep working on your robot and make adjustments to do better. Just like life.

More questions? Great!

Contact Mr. Mark Muller at or call him at 607-843-2025.


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Organizers Mark Muller (center; teacher, Oxford Academy), Bob Mackey (left; Superintendent, Unadilla Valley), and Greg Milunich (right; teacher, Otselic Valley) are bringing the RoboRAVE robotics education and competition to New York State. On April 7, 2018, Oxford Academy in Oxford, NY will be the home of the first ever RoboRAVE competition in the state. Teams from anywhere are welcome to join us! Learn more >> form or join a team >> sign up >> play with robots >> prepare for the challenges >> come to win, but also come to have fun!