Classroom Resource: RoboBucks

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RoboBucks are the currency of the Robotics lab. Each team is given 1500 RoboBucks at the beginning of the project. Here are some of the things RoboBucks are used to buy:


If your team comes up with a great invention, you might want to prevent other teams from copying it. That protection is called a Patent. See the page on Patents. Patents cost 100 RoboBucks.


You can use RoboBucks to buy consulting time from the coach, the mentors, or from anyone else you like. Coach time costs 100 RoboBucks for five minutes. Other people may have different prices.

Here are some of the things you can pay a consultant to do:

  1. Debug a program
  2. Write a sample program
  3. Design something mechanical
  4. Give detailed, specific advice about some problem

Not everything costs money, however. Here are some things that are free:

  1. Explain how a function works in RoboLab
  2. Give general advice about how something might be done.
  3. Team brainstorming or facilitation.
  4. Sorting out team issues and conflicts.
  5. General questions of all sorts.

Buying Software or Patent Licenses

Another use for RoboBucks is to buy a license to an invention made by another team. Also, while teams can’t patent software, you can still contract with them to buy a program or to help you figure something out. The prices for these services are set by the team you’re buying the invention or service from.

If you buy something from another team, you are still responsible for knowing how it works inside and out because you’ll need to explain it to the judges.

For more information on patents, see the Patents document.

Goofing Off

If a member of the team truly doesn’t have anything to do, they should talk to the rest of the team. If they don’t have anything, see the coach. If s/he can’t figure out anything productive to do, it’s fine to do homework, surf the web, etc. You can also call your parents to be picked up. It’s never okay to build random things out of Legos. These creations just have to be taken apart by someone and refilled. That’s not fair to the coach and the mentors. The creations are also distracting to people trying to get their work done.

When one of the members of your team is doing or building something unrelated to your project, they will be warned that they need to get back to work. If they continue to mess around, your team will be fined 100 RoboBucks.

If you don’t have any more RoboBucks, or can’t find them, your project has run out of funding. In the real world, everyone on the team would be out of a job. In the Robotics lab, your robot is locked away. The only way to get your robot back and get the project on track is to earn more RoboBucks. Teams whose projects are locked away aren’t allowed in the lab unless they are earning RoboBucks to get their projects restarted. You will be escorted to after-school care in the middle school in this case.


There will be an auction at the end of the year where your team can bid on cool stuff.

Earning RoboBucks

You can earn additional RoboBucks by doing chores around the lab or selling things to other teams. You might also make RoboBucks by selling a patent license to another team who wants to use your invention.

Some of the chores include:

  • Refilling Lego parts.
  • Building course models.
  • Resorting Lego parts bins making sure each part is in the right place.
  • Helping to shut down the lab at the end of the day.

Disclaimer: There is not always something to do and the price the coach is willing to pay for a job might change from day to day.