We’ve designed and delivered hundreds…scratch that…thousands of STEM outreach activities over the years!
And, well, we’ve learned a few things along the way.
So, let’s chat a little bit about competition-style events.
We see these used A LOT!
We do understand their appeal.
It’s fun to win! Right?
But, let’s be honest…it really sucks to lose.
Remember, our goal is to create positive STEM experiences for kids.
So, when we use competitive-style STEM outreach events, we end up with a team (maybe 3-4 kids) of winners that will definitely remember the experience as fun and exciting!
But, we also end up with a whole lot of losers! Not fun 😭
Now, we’re not saying that you have to avoid competition style events completely.
There are definitely some benefits to integrating a little friendly competition into the experience 😜.
We’ve even seem some organizations that do a phenomenal job at creating a positive experience for everyone right along side the competitive element (FIRST Robotics!).
It really comes back to being very strategic and deliberate about the design criteria for these kinds of events.
There is no “one size fits all” answer for what works either.
Try something. Collect data. Make adjustments and try again! (sounds like the engineering design process in action eh?)
And, most important…have fun!
Curious to hear about your experiences with competition style STEM events. Did you participate in them as a student? Have you run one? Been a judge? Please share!