A year of promise.
The best way to grow is to strengthen your roots. In the 2022–2023 BadgerBots fiscal year, we did just that. We deepened and widened our commitment to our community by focusing on the things that we do best: building partnerships, creating best-in-class curriculum, and helping kids make cool robots.
Growth for us — and for our students
In its first full year of operation, our community engagement program expanded by leaps and bounds.
We began by bringing our unique array of STEAM activities to local community centers on a weekly basis, for free, thanks to a grant from the Technology Education Foundation.
As we built connections with our students, our curriculum evolved to match the unique interests of each group. We didn't just build robots—we crafted dancing robots that bopped to the beat. When our students were so absorbed in robot sumo wrestling that they didn't want to go home, we came back with Robo Rumble Round 2 the next week.
We led rhino robots through a maze to water. Built gumdrop bridges that could survive Green Goblin's battle with Spider-Man. Launched marshmallows through the air. Tested the aerodynamics of paper airplanes. And much, much more.
And with each step, each challenge, our students rose to the occasion. With their authentic drive, passion, and joy, they collected data, built their skills, and found confidence in their unique strengths.
Our 2022–2023 Partnerships
Packer Community Learning Center
Theresa Terrace Neighborhood Center
Northport Community Learning Center
Badger Rock Neighborhood Center
Door of Hope
Goodman South Library
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center (BTC) Institute
I've seen the growth within the kids. When they're engaging in these activities, they're just having fun. They're not so shut down. It's very, very important that they have this in their lives.
Packer Community Learning Center
Expanding our reach
To teach even more kids, we travelled city-wide to bring STEAM pop-up events to museums, libraries, and parks.
At these events, we focused on open-ended activities that kids could approach and engage in at their leisure. Bugs that move and buzz in the sun. Careful deconstruction of obsolete computers and tech. LEGO nametags that each kid could personalize and take home.
We also worked towards engaging caregivers at our pop-up events. Studies show that learning with a trusted adult multiplies the odds that a kid will pursue STEAM long-term. When we give families a chance to combine learning time with family time, we help keep kids on the STEAM path.
Our 2022–2023 Pop-Ups
Madison Children's Museum
Urban League of Greater Madison
Kujichagulia Juneteenth Celebration
Badger Rock Night Market
WI Science Festival
From September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023, our community engagement program served...
360 caregivers & parents
1,270 people total
Seasons of learning
BadgerBots summer camp has been an institution for over a decade. This year, we broadened our reach by adding camps at Madison College, on the east side of Dane County.
With 14 separate topics spread over 3 age groups, our summer camp created memorable moments for campers and staff alike. We built LEGO cave cars that could traverse spooky LEGO caverns. Designed hundreds of animated sprites in Scratch. Ran thousands of LEGO robot missions. Crafted unique 3D printed items. And, of course, battled for resources in Minecraft.
To make sure STEM opportunities existed year-round, we also hosted winter break and spring break camps, and offered a variety of one-time workshops.
A focus on girls in robotics
One of our favorite ways to get—and keep—girls interested in STEM is to make sure they're learning alongside their peers.
With leadership from our all-girl FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team, the Attack Hamsterz, we hosted two all-girl robotics workshops. 32 girls built and coded their own robots—and many of them came back for summer camp.
From September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023, our educational programs...
taught 772 kids
filled 1,460 camp, class, or workshop seats
Serving kids state-wide
As operational partner for FIRST LEGO League in Wisconsin, we help kids and coaches across the entire state.
During the 2022–2023 SuperPowered season, we helped organize 10 regionals, 2 sectionals, and the championship tournament. We also held weekly all-coach Zoom calls to help guide teams through the rulebook.
Our season was a great success: not only did we assist over 200 teams, we were able to secure spots for 6 of those teams in prestigious post-season, out-of-state tournaments, including the FIRST World Championship.
Supporting a passion for robotics
We opened our building to three high school robotics teams this year.
Our FIRST Robotics Competition team, Team 1306, focused on making their robot, Acronym, a contender at two regional competitions. In their offseason, Team 1306 shared the wonder of robotics with elementary school students via their outreach program.
Both of our FIRST Tech Challenge teams found tournament success this year. 17235 MR. COD won the Design Award at two qualifying tournaments and advanced to the Wisconsin Championship, where they claimed the Connect Award.
Our all-girl robotics team, 22548 Attack Hamsterz, handled their rookie season like old pros. They earned an Event Champion title as part of a winning alliance and won the 2nd place Motivate Award at their first qualifying tournament. At their second qualifying tournament, they won the 2nd place Connect Award. They also advanced to the Wisconsin Championship, where they earned the 2nd place Motivate Award.
Both FTC teams also partnered with the BadgerBots community engagement program to provide STEM programming in the community through workshops and pop-up events.
From September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023, our robotics program served...
1,700 kids on 240 FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams
34 students on in-house teams