In the WRO competition, teams are required to have and use a team name. This is not only required for registering your team but also fosters relationships between team members and helps to create the team's own unique identity.
A team name is the first step in creating a WRO team. It should be something fun and meaningful to the team members and something that is referred to often by coaches and other teams. As a WRO coach you should give your teams the freedom to come up with and use whatever name or combination of letters they like. Give the team members a chance to be creative and foster friendships through this process.
Team names come in many shapes and forms, referencing TV shows, video games or even every day objects. Some are even clever phrases such as "Name Still Loading" or "Error 404 not found". When children enter the competition and judges read their names there is a sense of pride and fun from each team member.
Too often we encounter team names that team members have had no involvement in creating. Names such as School 1, School 2 and School 3 are examples of these names which can lead to issues at the competition when interacting with judges. Often teams who have been assigned a name don't remember the name or what number team they are. These teams will use a name they came up with but their coach did not register. Often the reason for the school or club name being used in the team name is for school or club representation or advertising, however, that happens anyway on the ranking lists where the school name appears next to the team name. Is a team's achievement that of the school or club or their own individual work and what is the harm in allowing children to come up with and use their own team name?
Often in the WRO the team name used will be the same one for the team member's entire WRO journey from Elementary to Senior. The team name and team members stay the same. In some cases a school or club may have a legacy name. This is a name that is handed down from one team to another that represents something special in the club. Perhaps the name is lucky or maybe something to honour a lost team member or coach and given to a team which displays special qualities.
For those starting in WRO or wanting to up their team name game here are some tips just for you.
Set a deadline - give teams a date that a team name is needed by and stick to that date.
Create a team name 'dud jar' - Look around and write down a bunch of everyday objects. Throw these names into a jar and use this 'dud jar' for teams that are struggling to come up with a name. The team members draw one and that is their name for a week or maybe longer. (A shout out to team "Table Cloth" who participated as "Table Cloth" for nearly three years.)
Set a theme - Give teams a theme that names should be created around and let them go wild. This makes it a little easier for teams to nail down a name.
Be open to suggestions - sometimes the team name may not mean anything to you but to the children it could be an inside joke or reference to something you are unaware of, "You Must Construct Additional Pylons".
Ask why? - when teams come up with names ask them why and where it comes from, you may just learn something new or something about your teams.
Ultimately the team name creates identity. It is fun, long lasting and in some cases can leave a legacy and create many happy memories not only for your teams but for your own WRO journey.