We had debate club, which still exists, of course, but now a new set of competitions has claimed the stage.
Go to http://firstlegoleague.org for more info on how to get started, how parents can help, and a raft of other information.
Like debate, there is an assigned "topic" for the competition, such as a recent one--caring for the elderly.
The teams--300 in Arizona--compete in three parts--building miniature robots that can perform prescribed tasks (the Robot Game), developing a solution to a problem (Project) and achievement of Core Values of teamwork, graciousness, and helpfulness.
This is not some science fair deal, which often was dominated by parental input. Adults cannot even touch the robots or a team is thrown out.
One team in Arizona--all girls--met every Saturday for months and interviewed a 100-year-old woman to learn her needs, which led to inventing a chair for her. Their robots could turn on a mini-television among other tasks.
They had to learn and use calculus.
Big companies also assist and talk with the kids. What do you want to bet they are also looking for ideas?