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SafetyGracie
07-23-2008, 11:06 AM
Our team had a booth set up at our 4H fair, trying to get attention from kids who might want to join. Some of us were driving around the '06 and '08 robot, and the other half were building a new, vex type robot just for the fun of it.
Well, a few boys seemed pretty interested, they were watching us drive and build, and when I asked him if he was interested in joining the team, he said "I'm not that smart."
That's not the first time I've had that response, I've been getting it a lot lately. Does anyone else have this problem, and more importantly, how do we dispell the myth that FIRST and the robotics teams in general are only for the genius and the tech geek?

Carol
07-23-2008, 11:08 AM
[QUOTE=SafetyGracie;758277]
Well, a few boys seemed pretty interested, they were watching us drive and build, and when I asked him if he was interested in joining the team, he said "I'm not that smart."
QUOTE]

And what was your reply?

Molten
07-23-2008, 11:13 AM
Usually I give them an example. I point at one of the kids that are just goofing off and tell them, "He's not that smart either". Joking, of course, but it makes them realize that we are still kids too.

SafetyGracie
07-23-2008, 11:14 AM
[QUOTE=SafetyGracie;758277]
Well, a few boys seemed pretty interested, they were watching us drive and build, and when I asked him if he was interested in joining the team, he said "I'm not that smart."
QUOTE]

And what was your reply?

I told him that not many people come on to our robotics team knowing what they're doing, and we train people to learn the skills that we use to build the bot. As long as you show an interest, you can become a part of the team and join whatever subteam you want to, and we'll get you the skills necessary.

AndyB
07-23-2008, 11:15 AM
This is a really good question to ask. How is one suppose to reply to this? "You don't need to be smart." doesn't really do the program justice.

SafetyGracie
07-23-2008, 11:17 AM
Usually I give them an example. I point at one of the kids that are just goofing off and tell them, "He's not that smart either". Joking, of course, but it makes them realize that we are still kids too.

Yeah, we always try to show them Samir. =)

Elgin Clock
07-23-2008, 11:32 AM
Obviously you don't want to respond with "you don't have to be smart" because as AndyB stated, it doesn't give the program the justice it deserves & it comes off like you are agreeing that they aren't smart without even knowing them. Not the best way to start things off with anyone.

I'm curious about the ages of the boys who gave that response to you. Answers may vary depending on how old the person is who says that to you, but the following will work for anyone I'm sure.

All you need to do in these situations is to turn it around on them & give the hope that even folks who don't think they are smart can succeed in the program, & that everyone has potential for turning themselves into one of the "smart ones" if they just want to step up & take that challenge upon themselves with some help from joining a team of course.

A lot of the time in FIRST it's not what you have when you enter the program, but what you gain from being in it.

tennispro9911
07-23-2008, 11:40 AM
The problem when people say they aren't that smart is that usually they mean they don't have enough knowledge, or that they aren't good at specific things.

I try to start off by saying that when I started that I didn't know very much about robotics either.

Our team tries to explain that we will go through and teach incoming members all of the basics they need to succeed and that there are many different positions and needs on the team other than just building robots. Every member will make contributions in what they enjoy doing and are good at doing. We are a team that needs lots of people who are different and not just the "genius and nerd."

At least thats how it works in theory. Our team doesn't have many non-tech people.

There is a difference between aptitude and knowledge.

On a seperate note, what would you do if someone who really wasn't smart was thinking about joining? I don't mean someone who is average in school, I mean someone who say is having serious trouble understanding remedial classes in school?

AdamHeard
07-23-2008, 11:40 AM
Obviously you don't want to respond with "you don't have to be smart" because as AndyB stated, it doesn't give the program the justice it deserves & it comes off like you are agreeing that they aren't smart without even knowing them. Not the best way to start things off with anyone.

In what was does it not give the program justice? By starting with that, you've almost left no way to reply.

I must've offended a lot of people in my time, 'cause I've heard this line and given more or less the same answer every time; you don't have to be smart, and you'll get out what you put in. I can even think of some members who joined, and ended up being extremely valuable members.

SafetyGracie
07-23-2008, 11:43 AM
On a seperate note, what would you do if someone who really wasn't smart was thinking about joining? I don't mean someone who is average in school, I mean someone who say is having serious trouble understanding remedial classes in school?

We kind of have that situation. There is a kid on our team with a mental disability(it's mild) but we still find things for him to do. He deburs and rivets and some other stuff. He enjoys it, and he's still putting something in for the team, so no one minds really.

JaneYoung
07-23-2008, 11:47 AM
This is a really good question to ask. How is one suppose to reply to this? "You don't need to be smart." doesn't really do the program justice.

I like the word, potential.

Teenagers and adults all discover hidden potential, hidden talents, hidden reserves, hidden interests when given the opportunity. To discover them on a FIRST team can lead to scholarships, applying to schools one never thought about or only dreamed about, exploring new career options, innovations, ideas. To be a member on a FIRST team opens many doors to the world around us and to the world within us. That is too much to say during recruitment, obviously, but it is something to think about when talking with these young people who have self-doubts. You can say, 'come to a few meetings and see what you think'. It would be fun to have a business card for moments like this that says, try it - you'll like it. That nudges the person to think in a can-do fashion. Glass 1/2 full.

Obviously, I come from the 'leave no leaf unturned, no potential member behind' school. :)

tennispro9911
07-23-2008, 11:52 AM
A lot of people outside FIRST, for the most part, think along the lines of smart=knowledge=experience=intelligence=ability=.. ...

Thats not true. Its not how much knowledge you have, its how much you want to learn. Its how much time you are willing to spend learning X Y and Z. Thats what is important. The senior who comes in knowing everything about programming, and just writes the code he already knows how to write doesn't gain nearly as much as the freshman who goes in knowing next to nothing about robots and emerges in four years knowing a heck of a lot about robots, and even more about leadership, teamwork, and the term is overused, but gracious professionalism.

Cynette
07-23-2008, 12:04 PM
On a seperate note, what would you do if someone who really wasn't smart was thinking about joining? I don't mean someone who is average in school, I mean someone who say is having serious trouble understanding remedial classes in school?

We kind of have that situation. There is a kid on our team with a mental disability(it's mild) but we still find things for him to do. He deburs and rivets and some other stuff. He enjoys it, and he's still putting something in for the team, so no one minds really.
Good answer! I think this fits in with Jane's comment on potential as well. During my time on our team, I've learned that some of our most dedicated members don't necessarily do well in school. With the variety of activities and tasks needed for robot design and build and all of the team stuff that goes around it, every student seems to be able to find something they are good at. A lot of it is in the attitude, though. You have to get the students (and sometimes the mentors) past the "I can't do that" into the "I'll give it a try!"

Al Skierkiewicz
07-23-2008, 12:12 PM
I like to think that the majority of people have about the same level of intelligence. The difference between us is how much we are committed to narrow our focus. I once met a brilliant heart surgeon. He would analyze your heart function by measuring it's volume when fully open and when fully compressed, throw in some variables based on your size (skin surface area), age, sex, etc. and be able to tell if your heart was capable of delivering the required flow at the right pressure. He was called on as an assistant in all kinds of difficult surgeries at different hospitals all over the state. But he couldn't remember how to play, rewind and fast forward a tape machine. He had focused his vision so much that all of his attention was on hearts and nothing else. His office assistant told me he had a hard time finding his office some days.
So if everyone is about the same then the response should be "you are already smart enough, you just need to focus on something. Join the team and we will help you learn how to do that."

RoboMom
07-23-2008, 12:24 PM
There are lots of resources available on the FIRST website, and within the Regional Planning Guides (although the challenge is often finding them ;) )

Over the years I've collected various "core messages" and responses from FIRST when questions like these arise.

I found this is one. Sorry I don't know where it came from on the site, but it is "official" language.

Is scientific, technology or mathematics expertise required for students to participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition?
FIRST invites students who may not be predisposed to science, math, or technology to participate. In fact, the FRC is designed to inspire, motivate and encourage students to learn basic principles while challenging more experienced students. Since there are critical roles for students in everything from design and building , to computer animation, to fundraising and research, every student can actively participate and benefit.

I also add the words "teamwork" "professionalism" and "problem-solving". And the word "FUN."

klrswift
07-23-2008, 12:25 PM
Joining a FIRST team is the beginning of "smart," not the culmination. You can walk in to the room not knowing a screwdriver from a hacksaw, and walk out knowing how to build a robot. Sometimes you just have to show them the robot and how it works, and hopefully they will see that they are smarter than they think.

Don Wright
07-23-2008, 12:28 PM
I would ask back "Why do you think you aren't smart enough?"

And I bet whatever excuse they give, you could then turn it into "Would you like to learn how to do that?" and then tell them they could by joining the team...

i.e.

Kid: "I'm not that smart"
me: "Why do you think you aren't smart enough?"
kid: "Because I don't even know how to use a computer."
me: "Would you like to learn how to do that?"

Daniel_LaFleur
07-23-2008, 12:29 PM
Our team had a booth set up at our 4H fair, trying to get attention from kids who might want to join. Some of us were driving around the '06 and '08 robot, and the other half were building a new, vex type robot just for the fun of it.
Well, a few boys seemed pretty interested, they were watching us drive and build, and when I asked him if he was interested in joining the team, he said "I'm not that smart."
That's not the first time I've had that response, I've been getting it a lot lately. Does anyone else have this problem, and more importantly, how do we dispell the myth that FIRST and the robotics teams in general are only for the genius and the tech geek?

I've had this said to me before as well.

My typical response is:
"Niether was I when I started. "

Eugenia Gabrielov
07-23-2008, 01:26 PM
I agree that encouraging responses to that statement are a great way to get an intimidated student interested in the program.

When confronted with such a reaction to your robotics team, it is crucial to remember that this is not just another set of hands in the shop you are training and it is not just another name to add to your roster. This is a person, an individual who holds a great deal of potential and brings with them a wealth of both talent and experience.

The reason I offer this warning is that a few solutions mentioned so far in this thread allude to the future - "you will get better. You will do great. You will be an excellent member of the team." It is very possible and likely that this student's experiences contain discouragement, possibly even ridicule, with regard to academic performance and activities. They are claiming "I am not smart enough" because they might think they are incapable of learning this material.

Give the future to them, not later, but right now.

Why wait? Really take a moment of your time to show them - teach them - an aspect of your robot. Another student could do it as well, and build a bond that will last when they join the team. Let them take the controls in their hands, or feel the drive train and see how the wheels move, and the role each motor plays. Teach them something small to demonstrate your integrity when you say that you will prove to them that they are smart enough.

Koko Ed
07-23-2008, 01:46 PM
Well I'm not that "smart" neither.
But it has never stopped me from sticking with the program and finding my place. Never once have I ever felt unwelcome.
When people think of smart they think of book smart. And to mostly succeed here you do need book smarts but there is a place for people who are creative, who are resourceful, who are imaginative, who are organized, who are efficient, and who are good with people. There are plenty of talents to bring to the table that will bring your team success that goes beyond book smarts.
If you are willing to put forth a sincere effort, stick to path and at the very least try then you will find a place here. I truly believe that. You just got to want to belong first and that has nothing to do with how "smart" you are.

Lancer Robotics
07-23-2008, 02:19 PM
As a rookie team this past season I took our school coordinator to vidit one of the most experienced team in out State. (only had 3 at the time) and they let us go over their past 7 robots and take pictures and ask 1000s of questions.

When we got in the car to return home she looked at me and said "can our girls do that? It looks so complicated". this is a similar reaction that I get from potential students. I tell them the same thing I told our coordinator, don't look at the final product, look at the individual parts. it is easy to make a gusset and fasten it to a piece of metal, or easy to conect a wire to a motor.

Just like an airplane home builder says, look at the individual step not the whole project or you will become over whelmed.

Our team members who thought they could only design tee shirts are now looking at designing the robot for next year. It is not brains but desire that matters.

These are just my ramblings but i hate hearing anyone say "I am not that smart" As Alexandre Kemurdjian said "Everyone is capable of doing extraordinary things in their own way"

sgreco
07-23-2008, 02:49 PM
I have gotten that a lot. I request to someone that they join our team and they say that they aren't smart enough. I tell them "I'm not smart either...heck...I just asked you to join."

I'm just kidding. But seriously, I do get that a lot. I usually tell them the truth, "I hardly knew anything when I started." The way I like to represent my team, is by saying that we are a team that teaches engineering, programming etc. This way, I think kids feel less intimidated, because they are being taught instead of just applying skills that they already (or don't already) have. Of course it doesn't always work, but it is a good place to start.

JesseK
07-23-2008, 02:56 PM
I like the word, potential.
So if everyone is about the same then the response should be "you are already smart enough, you just need to focus on something. Join the team and we will help you learn how to do that."


I think along these lines as well. My response would be "Sure you are! You just haven't realized it yet."

Andrew Schreiber
07-23-2008, 02:57 PM
I would always tell people that it isn't a matter of "smart", more a matter of passion. Basically that even if you THINK you lack the natural abilities that some people have you can more than make up for them with a willingness to learn. (story at end of post)

Also, a good point to always make, FIRST is about teamwork. I know very few people who would be capable of taking a FRC robot from design through to competition all alone. Yet I know TONS of "smart" people. You don't need to know how everything is done, you need to know what you have an interest in.

An interesting story about someone who feels they are not so smart:

My father is a man who often tells us he has never read a whole book in his life. I believe him, he is slow at reading. He is horrible with computers, and frankly gets confused using a TV. What my father IS good at is math, not so much the calculus math, he hasn't taken much past algebra. But he is very at using numbers to make a point. By looking at numbers he was able to help us keep our school alive. Here is a man who claims he is not very smart but using what he does have, and what he knows, he was able to make a HUGE difference.

Another point about my father, despite not understanding computers, he follows several tech stocks and surprises me with his understanding of what they make on a pretty regular basis.

I tell this story because here is a person who doesn't think they are smart (like your young man) who has made a massive difference for at least one school. Brains aren't everything, in fact they count for less than nothing. What matters is using your abilities, whatever they may be, to improve yourself and those around you. Oh and for reference, I think he is one of the smartest people I know.

Sorry for the essay :P

JaneYoung
07-23-2008, 03:04 PM
Sorry for the essay :P

Andrew,
Stories that give examples of the caliber yours just did are what make ChiefDelphi such a special place. It sounds like your father is a man with common sense - a quality that is sometimes underestimated and never should be.

MGoelz
07-23-2008, 03:38 PM
I get this response often. Even sitting at lunch, talking to some friends, somebody will say, "I'm not smart enough to do that."

That's when I like to tell stories about how certain members of our team joined, thinking it was all fun and games and we only want to win, who now take it seriously, still have a lot of fun, but have learned so much it has taken them down a completely different path. It has lead to different careers.

I tell them my own story. Sure, I may be a little "book smart," but I knew next to nothing about robotics when I joined. The beauty was in the learning. I too have always felt welcome. Robotics is more of a family to me than my own. It changed me and the way I think. I want to be an engineer now. Had I not been given the opportunity to be on this team, I never would have truly desired to be an engineer, let alone know the intricacies of designing and manufacturing something.

And, as has been mentioned, taking the time to teach them something small right then and there, will make a huge difference in what they think they can do. It did with me. There were a few people who took the time to show me and teach me, and I have and always will admire and respect them for that. I try to do the same, because I am living proof that it works.

It simply takes convincing that they are capable. Convincing and the desire of the interested student to learn, and the willingness of veteren members to welcome them and teach them.

EricVanWyk
07-23-2008, 03:54 PM
"I'm not that smart."
"Maybe not yet, that is why we run training in the fall."

Pretend like s/he used the word "knowledgeable" instead of "smart", and gloss over the semantics. I use this trick quite often, with decent success.

For whatever reason, "smarts" and "knowledge" seem to have swapped roles in our culture and our egos. Being smart holds more weight in our egos and socially, but knowledge is what actually matters. Convince the potential team member that they will become smarter by joining, and they'll likely come.

It isn't quite lying, because both of you are using the word wrong in the same manner... or something.

Andy Baker
07-23-2008, 03:59 PM
This reminds me of a time from IRI last weekend:

I was head ref. At the end of each match, the refs have to total up the penalties, account for the bonus balls, allow the teams on the field, and communicate scoring adjustments to the scoring table. During the match or after the match, I had all of the penalties and bonus points written on a pad of paper. I would refer to this paper when talking to the scorekeeper.

I asked the field reset people to leave the trackballs on the overpass alone, and not put up any other trackballs, until the next match is randomized. My reason for this is that I like to double check the trackball bonus points as I tell the scoring table how many counted... so, I want to see those balls up there (no more, no less).

The field reset people asked me, "why do you want us to wait?"

My response was "I'm not that smart! Leave those balls up there in case I forgot to write them down."

I'm smart enough to realize that I sometimes have non-smart moments.

-----

Smart is a relative term. Everyone is smart about something, but still dense about others. Once people realize that they have potential to be smart at anything, nothing can stop them.

Andy B.

DonRotolo
07-23-2008, 04:12 PM
Its not how much knowledge you have, its how much you want to learn.
then the response should be "you are already smart enough, you just need to focus on something. Join the team and we will help you learn how to do that."
Joining a FIRST team is the beginning of "smart," not the culmination.
It is not brains but desire that matters.
Smart is a relative term. Everyone is smart about something, but still dense about others. Once people realize that they have potential to be smart at anything, nothing can stop them.

Holy Cow, this thread has more WOW quotes than any I have read in several years.

My answer would "Smart is as smart does", which is very much like what the quotes above are saying.

Don

.

sgreco
07-23-2008, 05:12 PM
I would always tell people that it isn't a matter of "smart", more a matter of passion.

You are absolutely right. I love it. You hit the nail right on the head. It is totally a matter of passion. Nothing makes FIRST more fun than it already is, like someone who is dedicated and has fun doing what they are doing. A dedicated team is a happy team. I am never happier than when I am in the lab with a bunch of dedicated enthusiastic team members. Usually dedicated, happy and enthusiastic team members get the most work done. Sometimes one person with a true passion for what they are doing can enhance the atmosphere of the team.

JaneYoung
07-23-2008, 05:21 PM
If I may, passion will help get through school - but smart goes a long way towards achieving that degree. We need our smart people. We need our brilliant people. We also need to remember that sometimes there are those who are forming/deciding who they are and what they are made of and they may not think they have what it takes. That is when passion and support can help them engage. We need our JVNs and Karthiks. We need our Andy Bakers and Dave Laverys. We need our MGoelzs and our KathieKs. Everyone can contribute, can care, can make a difference on a team and in this thing called FIRST. That's the point. :)

Beth Sweet
07-23-2008, 05:30 PM
Normally when I get something like that (which people rarely say to me, imagine that...) I point to my hair and share a story such as the time I tripped over my own feet and broke my nose falling down a flight of stairs, or didn't look very well while walking, and dented the wall running into it. The closer? "And hey, they've let me be in FIRST for 6 years now!"

I agree with the other posters, give a story about how you don't have to be... say, a rocket scientist... to be in FIRST!

cooker52
07-23-2008, 05:32 PM
Leave it up to Gracie to come up with a thread that get's everyone's attention. I think I'll post my response after the quotes.



I told him that not many people come on to our robotics team knowing what they're doing, and we train people to learn the skills that we use to build the bot. As long as you show an interest, you can become a part of the team and join whatever subteam you want to, and we'll get you the skills necessary.

Gracie, that is one of the best response I have heard for this situation. And I've heard a lot (especially looking down this thread). Good job!

Yeah, we always try to show them Samir. =)

This is Samir (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/31694?), he can be a goofball sometimes (last I checked, he was in our team uniform and going to ride that bot around the fair).


Our team tries to explain that we will go through and teach incoming members all of the basics they need to succeed and that there are many different positions and needs on the team other than just building robots. Every member will make contributions in what they enjoy doing and are good at doing. We are a team that needs lots of people who are different and not just the "genius and nerd."

We really are pushing that this year and making sure people know it. If they are remotely interested in what we do, we encourage them and try to find a place they fit in.

We kind of have that situation. There is a kid on our team with a mental disability(it's mild) but we still find things for him to do. He deburs and rivets and some other stuff. He enjoys it, and he's still putting something in for the team, so no one minds really.

We have a couple like that. But I don't know many times they don't try to find something to help with. And with a lot of holes and rivets, it isn't hard.

I like the word, potential.

Potential, everyone has it. That's the way I try to see things around here. It's not that hard at all. Find what they're good at and build on it.

I think along these lines as well. My response would be "Sure you are! You just haven't realized it yet."

That's catchy, I think it would get a lot of people encouraged to join.


Smart is a relative term. Everyone is smart about something, but still dense about others. Once people realize that they have potential to be smart at anything, nothing can stop them.


I have found that to be true in each person I have found. Whether they can draw, do math, sketch awesome ideas, or even talk, I haven't found anyone who isn't smart.

Holy Cow, this thread has more WOW quotes than any I have read in several years.

I don't know about several years, but I read it with my mouth open the entire time. Then to realize who started it, I'm impressed.

When I talk to someone who is interested in what we are doing, I'll start to talk to them, kinda make friends with them. When I show them stuff on the robot, I'll simplify some of the names to help them understand, and I still may not know what it's called either, but I know it is definitely a thingy that does this or that. As they become more interested or start to shy off, especially with the classic "I'm not that smart", I'll pull out what they're good at and then make it fit in the team. It is hard to not find something they aren't good at or don't like to do. They can all fit in.



If I may, passion will help get through school - but smart goes a long way towards achieving that degree. We need our smart people. We need our brilliant people. We also need to remember that sometimes there are those who are forming/deciding who they are and what they are made of and they may not think they have what it takes. That is when passion and support can help them engage. We need our JVNs and Karthiks. We need our Andy Bakers and Dave Laverys. We need our MGoelzs and our KathieKs. Everyone can contribute, can care, can make a difference on a team and in this thing called FIRST. That's the point. :)

Yes, you may.

Andrew Schreiber
07-23-2008, 05:42 PM
If I may, passion will help get through school - but smart goes a long way towards achieving that degree. We need our smart people. We need our brilliant people. We also need to remember that sometimes there are those who are forming/deciding who they are and what they are made of and they may not think they have what it takes. That is when passion and support can help them engage. We need our JVNs and Karthiks. We need our Andy Bakers and Dave Laverys. We need our MGoelzs and our KathieKs. Everyone can contribute, can care, can make a difference on a team and in this thing called FIRST. That's the point. :)

I wont argue that we don't need smart people but I feel that passion and a strong dose of being willing to learn can often be just as potent.

Slightly off topic comment here: Don't forget that if a person isn't interested in robots there are still like a billion things to do on a team that don't involve robots. We have the problem on our team (dilemma would be a better word) that only one student wants to play an active role in the robot, the rest do awards or animation or website. Mentioning the non-technical side of things can often bring you people who would not normally give you a second thought. At demos and stuff perhaps off the ability to play in 3ds or at least show an animation. FIRST isn't all technical and doesn't always require engineers.

gorrilla
07-23-2008, 05:49 PM
our team has a whole section on our website just for this as well as a brochure we hand out at events and things we do to attract people or potential sponsors

this is the who we are section of our website

http://www.12voltbolt.com/who.php


i think it explains clearly what you can accomplish even if you aren't a "nerd" or "geek"

Branden Ghena
07-23-2008, 07:07 PM
My response has always been:

"Can you hit something with a hammer? If you can do that then join robotics, and we can teach you the rest."

Akash Rastogi
07-23-2008, 07:15 PM
Can we have this stickied or put in the rookie resource section (or any resource section?)

I had this response today. My best example is of a couple highly dedicated athletes who are among the top students on the team. It helps dispel the rumor that you have to be insanely smart.

JaneYoung
07-23-2008, 07:20 PM
I wont argue that we don't need smart people but I feel that passion and a strong dose of being willing to learn can often be just as potent.


Agreed. 'Potent' is a great way to put that as well.

Lions for First
07-23-2008, 09:27 PM
when someone said this to me at an open house this summer i said:
"can you put together a nut and bolt"
"yes"
"well then you could have built our frame"

christina_omg
07-23-2008, 09:45 PM
i get that response from girls a lot...

it doesn't help that I'm a female member of our team so for a girl who I'm trying to get to join to tell me 'I'm not smart' enough for that is frustrating. I go to a tech high school and i remember at an open house event for incoming freshman cosmetology had a spot across from ours. i was talking seriously to these two girls when their teacher came over and was like 'they're doing nails over there'. they ran away from me. what got me mad though was the fact that the teacher shied these girls away from something so rewarding.

but yea. people have this perception of robots as like, the terminator.
you don't have to be a super genius to do this stuff.

Foster
07-23-2008, 09:46 PM
I tell the Vex kids the only requirement is knowing your left from your right, we will teach them the rest. On the big bot, the ability to hit things with a hammer is a bonus

Protronie
07-23-2008, 09:49 PM
I would say, " You bring what you know, and a willingness to learn, and we'll help you. Then break it down to something I'm sure that would understand like joining a football team.

You start out knowing little or just the basics... and through practice and drills you become a player.

Also assure them that nobody on the team will look down on them and everyone willing to teach them something.
Don't forget to mention that theres a job for everyone on a team.

RyanN
07-24-2008, 11:18 AM
I get this problem all the time and also the "Dang smart kid." thing as well. Really, people think of robots being complicated and hard to make (go figure...) Really, it's all about your talents and focus to achieve certain goals. When people think of football or any other physical sports, they think "Muscle is the way to go" when really, smarts matter just as much.

I find that most people that say "I'm not that smart" don't want to get involved with something they're not sure they'll like. My best friend last summer said basically the same exact thing, but I told him that there is something for everyone. He ended up being on the 3D max crew on Fusion and really enjoyed the whole experience. He said that he wishes he had gotten involved 4 years ago when I first asked him.

So basically, the people that say "I'm not that smart" don't know what FIRST robotics is all about. Give them some examples of stuff we do.

If they like video games, tell them they're good for a driver.
If they like wiring stuff up, then it's self explanatory... Electrical!
If they like photoshop or video editing, tell them photography, 3Dmax, Autodesk.....
If they like hammering and bashing, tell them they're good for the pit crew.
I'm sure I'm missing plenty of stuff here, but those are some good examples. Tell them to come one day to really see how it works. Explain things to them in simple terms (The robot controller sends a signal to the speed control to make the motor turn) Don't go in depth with PWM cables, polarity, or anything somewhat complicated right off the bat. Start simple.

Ask them why they don't think they're smart enough. They will most likely not be able to answer the question, or just give a general answer. Ask them about what they're good at and how they got good at it. They'll answer practice, or if they don't, ask them if practice helped them. Tell them it's the same way with robotics. Practice makes perfect!

There is really so much on a robotics team to do, that even with 25 members of Team Fusion, I find myself extremely busy and often wondering what I'm going to do next year when I go to college. It will be hard to mentor my team from 300 miles away, but there is a team off the campus of my college that need help. I got many calls from past members last year asking me about the electrical and programming helping that team.

ShadowofaCat
07-24-2008, 11:49 AM
First off. Just reading this thread is inspiring. I came into robotics off of a recommendation. I honestly have a hard time with some math things in school and find myself saying "I'm not that smart".

Smart honestly is a relative term. When some people think smart. They think "math". But FIRST has shown me that its so many more things.
It's given me the self-confidence because even though i'm not "smart at" math, i understand how things work and i can help out my team and other people.


If they like video games, tell them they're good for a driver.
If they like wiring stuff up, then it's self explanatory... Electrical!
If they like photoshop or video editing, tell them photography, 3Dmax, Autodesk.....
If they like hammering and bashing, tell them they're good for the pit crew.


Comes to show its not if you are "smart" but what you are "smart at" :D

RyanN
07-24-2008, 12:11 PM
Comes to show its not if you are "smart" but what you are "smart at" :D

Exactly my point. Robotics has so much to offer that if you are just "smart at" one thing, then FIRST probably offers it. Thanks for clearing up my point. I couldn't have said that better myself.

gorrilla
07-24-2008, 12:52 PM
its funny my teachers are really interested in first but none of my other classmates are


i usually tell people that its not about just building a robot,anyone could do that its about having fun as a team and building life skills at you will need if you
want to have a career in technology!

JaneYoung
07-24-2008, 01:46 PM
I go to a tech high school and i remember at an open house event for incoming freshman cosmetology had a spot across from ours. i was talking seriously to these two girls when their teacher came over and was like 'they're doing nails over there'.


I like pretty nails but I have to admit this was a real eye opener - a 'holy cow' moment. I've read many many posts in CD but this one soars to the #1 spot as a reminder of how far we have to go in breaking through conventional mentality/thinking and expectations. Wow just wow.

MadeAtMidnight
07-24-2008, 04:36 PM
I like pretty nails but I have to admit this was a real eye opener - a 'holy cow' moment. I've read many many posts in CD but this one soars to the #1 spot as a reminder of how far we have to go in breaking through conventional mentality/thinking and expectations. Wow just wow.

Maybe they could combine engineering and nails -- http://www.imaginail.com/nailfashionprinter.htm

Team logos on fingernails, anyone?

samir13k
07-24-2008, 09:22 PM
Yeah, we always try to show them Samir. =)

ah, i see we are ripping on your electronics teacher!!! lol

Demothesis
07-24-2008, 09:45 PM
I generally find that some of the (pardon me) nerdier members of FIRST teams are not the best people to answer this question because they only solidify the steriotype. I would suggest bringing over the most sincere member of any given group, and have that person tell the mis-led passer-by that FIRST is the BEST way to get that smart! Mention the amazing mentors and the fact that FIRST aims at teaching kids how to have fun with technology. Remind them that every kid, especially you, started knowing nothing, and that this is the case for many FIRST team members. It only takes one season to be considered just as 'smart.'

Demothesis

PS You know, we're really just havin' fun - even if it happens to be considered smart....

cooker52
07-24-2008, 10:00 PM
This is somewhat random, but fits right in here.

We are given a flame being in FIRST. We have two options, let the flame burn as it is and die down, or add to it and make it burn brighter. We want this flame to burn as bright as we can, and the way we are going to do that is to get the world to see that we aren't the special "smart" kids that they "aren't". This entire thread is the way to make our fire burn brighter, so all can see that FIRST is for everyone.

I have seen so many great responses to "I'm not that smart" that, the next time you are encountered with that kind of person, they will join your team.

Chris_Elston
07-25-2008, 05:31 AM
So if everyone is about the same then the response should be "you are already smart enough, you just need to focus on something. Join the team and we will help you learn how to do that."

What a great response.

Rich Kressly
07-25-2008, 08:41 AM
Lots of great stuff here!!!

Take a look at this article that I was first alerted to by an English Dept. colleague about 2 years ago: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/

It seems as though, in our efforts to build self esteem in young people, we inadvertantly sent the wrong message to all youngsters by telling some that they are "smart". It also seems as though a much better parenting and teaching apporach lies in the phrases, "You must have worked hard." and "Taking that chance was worth it in the end, wasn't it?"

This is one of the reasons I have found over my career that the students who are identified as "gifted" are often the same students who don't like taking risks. Great kids, but in a subconscious effort to remain "smart" like they've been told, many tend to stay within the boundaries that allow them to be "right".

Sadly, if we allow this trend to continue, our best and brightest (which is more people than you think) will not be prepared to "fail" and persevere, nor will they leave their comfort zone long enough to develop those crucial creative abilities.

Dmentor
07-25-2008, 09:48 AM
Iím in a funky mood today. Probably sleep deprivation... I apologize in advance for offending you.

Donít confuse training with intelligence.
Donít confuse experience with genius.

Theological matters aside, we are a presumptuous species of animal to deem ourselves smart. In reality we are all cosmically stupid. If measured on this cosmic intelligence scale what is the difference between any of us? Letís get over ourselves and just go do the best we can with what we have.

Stephen Kowski
07-25-2008, 12:04 PM
Our team had a booth set up at our 4H fair, trying to get attention from kids who might want to join. Some of us were driving around the '06 and '08 robot, and the other half were building a new, vex type robot just for the fun of it.
Well, a few boys seemed pretty interested, they were watching us drive and build, and when I asked him if he was interested in joining the team, he said "I'm not that smart."
That's not the first time I've had that response, I've been getting it a lot lately. Does anyone else have this problem, and more importantly, how do we dispell the myth that FIRST and the robotics teams in general are only for the genius and the tech geek?

If they knew how to do it all already, this program wouldn't be needed. That is the beauty of this program, it is about learning, even for the parents and mentors.

I tell them my story when I hear stuff about "I'm not smart", or "I can't ever figure this out". I spent a year in FIRST before I even heard righty tighty lefty loosey. I didn't know anything about tools, robots or engineering. I knew one thing, this program got me three days excused absence from school. That's all I knew, and over time I learned a lot (and still learn to this day). FIRST was the best thing that accidentally happened to me.

Smart and stupid, these are just words, labels people put on someone or something. Can you work hard? Are you willing to learn and challenge yourself? That is all that is needed in FIRST.

I would recommend putting a human face to this experience and telling what you've learned and seen accomplished. Most people seem to relate to that really well.

samir13k
07-25-2008, 04:55 PM
Honestly, when I joined 1501 and was told that I would be on the Electronics team, I had no idea about electronics. I did not even know which color was positive, and which one was negative. Now, I am making sparks fly. literaly, but now after one season, i can wire a bot myself, do a little bit of programming, and I'm ok at mechanical. so overall, i was clueless, and i was also a really good friend with The electronics guy, so while goofing off and playing around as i usually do, i became really good at it.

I remember the first time I looked at the First wiring diagram, I said "How am I supposed to learn all this." I still refer back to the diagram all the time, but it was actually alot easier than it looked!

Gboehm
07-26-2008, 06:18 PM
I'm not that smart, so my senior year(06-07) my team made me the manager/driver... The team felt I couldnt hurt anything that way.

Carlee10
07-26-2008, 06:26 PM
This is the way I felt when I joined, and what I said. I knew nothing about robotics, but the senior I was freinds with through band said it was fun, and I was always interested in how things moved and why. Now look at me. I'm hooked! I can fix things on the robot, and the things I can't fix I at least know a little about. As long as you try, and learn. I'm CONSTNATLY asking questions, from blatanltly obvious to thoughtful and well thought out. I've seen smart and creative answers in this thread. If people find out I'm the team, and they say "I'm not nearly smart enough for that" or "Dang, you must be smart!" I just tell them that its not about being smart, and talk to them. But it doesn't hurt to be a quick learner, especially during build season.

$0.02

Andrew Schreiber
07-26-2008, 07:20 PM
Looking back on all the answers I seem to notice that we are all telling them they SHOULD do FRC. I agree FRC is a great program but it isn't for everyone. What we may want to tell them is to try it, if it isn't for you then learn from that and move on. (Don't use the term quit) No shame in learning from your past and moving onto what you do want to do.

SlaminSwimster
07-26-2008, 07:36 PM
I do a lot of recruiting events and i get the whole i'm not smart enough routine all the time. I've just basically started saying " look at the beginning of this year, i had no idea about any of this stuff i'm telling you." Some kids listen others don't

ashleym
10-14-2008, 02:32 PM
o wow.
thank you to whoever started this post.
This thread really helped me realize that i can take this club on.
My two (girl) friends and I have just joined this club for our senior year and have been elected by the rest of the team as the "presidents" of the club. As great as this all sounds, none of us really know anything about robotics:yikes: . So if any of you have any advice for us and our team please ,please feel free to message us anytime. We need as much help as we can get. Thanks again.

Ashleym

p.s. also keep the quotes coming... we post them weekly on our First Robotics board for our members.

uc0nnh00ps
10-15-2008, 05:01 PM
I know what you mean. Everyone associates robotics as a thng for really only smart people, but that is not the case. I cannot build or run a robot, but I found a way to contribute to the team. I mostly work on public relations, trying to find ways to raise funds and contact businesses for sponsorships and/or donations. During the build season, I write a weekly news article for our newspaper to inform our town on the progression and to encourage others that it is not to late to help. Every team needs people to work behind the scenes to help with fundraising. We all know that building these robots are not cheap. You also need people to thank your current sponsors and/or donators because you need them to continue supporting you. Last year, I also learned how to do some of the wiring on the robot and helped with that. On paper, I may be smart, but there is still a lot about technology that I do not know, but I have learned a lot since I joined my team. All I can tell tose people is that if you can write or use a computer there is a job for you. You can come up with anything to help the team, just be creative, be a cheerleder if that is all that you can do. The team needs to know that the community supports them. Robotics believe it or not can help in the future and will stand out on a college application. Plus, the competitions are a lot of fun. I met so many knew people that I cannot do in any other club in my school. Unfortunately, there are people that think that they are not "smart" and they are missing a great oppertunity.

chessking132
10-15-2008, 07:51 PM
I go to the majority of the robot demonstrations that our team does and i get this a lot. I like seeing the kids faces when they look at the robot and say you built that. Then they proceed to ask how long did it take you to build the robot and when you reply six weeks their mouth drops. But then that statement comes i am not that smart enough to build some thing like that. At first i did not know what the best response to this statement was. But after a couple more demos i my response was it looks relay complicated as a hole but when you brake it down it is real just a bunch of simple concepts that allow you to construct a complicated machine. This response sames to work because after that the kids normally seem a little more interested in the program and don't seem to think of it as the geek club.

Matthew Simpson
Team 75 Driver

ironnoobx3
10-15-2008, 09:01 PM
On The Occasion yes It has Happened, Also With a Few Other things, at our School, a lot Of The Students Who Came to Our assembly assumed our Robot Was for Destroying and Conquering the Human (No Idea how that Sprung up, it Just did :ahh: ) I told them No it was More of to Complete various Task In a certain amount of time, And as Soon as I said that, The Interest of Many, dropped a bit, But still were able to Get a lot of new Members:D :) :yikes:

skiswitch6
10-15-2008, 09:24 PM
Our team had that problem for a lot of years where FIRST was associated with being some freaky genius (and sometimes that's the case)

But as much as I hate to admit it our team developed into little groups much like a whole high school social setup. It has helped us gain more members but obviously some groups don't get along as much as we'd like. This happen with any other team?

Stoners and more "popular" people in the machine shop- pretty closed group not many people in or out

"Geeks" in software

Quiet kids you barely know are there- Electrical- Usually somewhere in the middle of the social food chain

Lazy immature kids in CAD- Usually those who are constantly gaming or just not doing much.



And just to clarify I don't mean to be disrespectful to any of these groups or discipline areas, thats just how things seemed to work out for us.

Overall thought it has helped get rid of that "i'm not smart enough" thing because theres something for everyone to do because people know that what "groups" they'll fit into, which while it isn't ideal it helps students who otherwise wouldnt have joined get involved in a great program.

JaneYoung
10-15-2008, 10:01 PM
Our team had that problem for a lot of years where FIRST was associated with being some freaky genius (and sometimes that's the case)

But as much as I hate to admit it our team developed into little groups much like a whole high school social setup. It has helped us gain more members but obviously some groups don't get along as much as we'd like. This happen with any other team?

Stoners and more "popular" people in the machine shop- pretty closed group not many people in or out

"Geeks" in software

Quiet kids you barely know are there- Electrical- Usually somewhere in the middle of the social food chain

Lazy immature kids in CAD- Usually those who are constantly gaming or just not doing much.



And just to clarify I don't mean to be disrespectful to any of these groups or discipline areas, thats just how things seemed to work out for us.

Overall thought it has helped get rid of that "i'm not smart enough" thing because theres something for everyone to do because people know that what "groups" they'll fit into, which while it isn't ideal it helps students who otherwise wouldn't have joined get involved in a great program.

There are ways to work with the cliques/groups and help the team build itself into a stronger more cohesive team. It takes work and effort and desire. You can do searches using key words like team-building or spend some time looking through some of the forums here in CD. General is good and so is Team Organization. If you are interested send me a PM and I'll point you to a few threads. There are also resources (http://www.usfirst.org/community/frc/content.aspx?id=7022) in the FIRST website such as an excellent sampling of team handbooks/manuals. I was just looking at the list of FRC Hall of Fame teams and 151 is one of them, winning the Chairman's in 1995. :) How cool is that!

Jane

colin340
10-22-2008, 08:21 AM
i think one of the best way to fix this problem is to make it clear to them the differences between school (smart) and real world smart. try asking them if they have ever worked on a bike or a lawn mower or taken stuff apart. if that fails then i would play the whole well you can learn this tend to work better on the boy in the crowd thou.

Molten
10-22-2008, 12:40 PM
On my team, you don't really have to be smart going in. But I guarantee you will be smart by the time we are done with you. :D

Thermal
10-22-2008, 12:48 PM
I've always wondered as to what made designing and machining a 120lb robot so much more nerdier than designing and machining parts for a car....

JaneYoung
10-22-2008, 01:00 PM
I've always wondered as to what made designing and machining a 120lb robot so much more nerdier than designing and machining parts for a car....

Image.

A lot of it can be attributed to image.

Andrew Schreiber
10-22-2008, 01:07 PM
i think one of the best way to fix this problem is to make it clear to them the differences between school (smart) and real world smart. try asking them if they have ever worked on a bike or a lawn mower or taken stuff apart. if that fails then i would play the whole well you can learn this tend to work better on the boy in the crowd thou.

I like this idea, but to expand, FRC, and engineering at large, isnt about building or making things. It is about problem solving, and everyone has done a puzzle, or solved a math problem. Basically what I always tell the kids on our team is: "You guys are better than trained engineers, they have set ways of looking at things, you dont have those preconceptions. So you guys figure out ways of doing things and we will help you figure out how to make those ideas a reality."

Rather than restate what I have said in other posts I suggest reading here http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=731299&postcount=22 Primarily focus on the part that isnt a direct response to the thread.

In response to Jane's comment about image, when we have a movie about Andy Baker similar to Rebel Without a Cause (Rebel without a Transmission?) We may correct that image, until then robots are considered geek things.

lenny8
10-23-2008, 11:53 PM
ahh yes the robotics stereo type, to be honest when i first joined my team i didn't know if i would fit in. but as i went on to find out just like most things in life you just have to try it out before you shoot it down. but what i do now is that i tell people when they say that i say well im probly the dumbest person you can meet but i'm a hard worker and good with my hands:) . A thing that is very key when talking to people about robotics let them know that its NOT just about building robots, theirs animation,business, fashion design ( robot and team) shoot and a very important one is team spirit :D .
so when that happend let them know that there more than what they see