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Unread 08-18-2005, 12:38 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan F.
I'll bite.

Hereís the big problem. How are high schoolers supposed to compete against professionally designed and built robots? This is where the true conflict is. The teams who believe that FIRST is better when the students actually build and manage the robot get destroyed in competition. FIRST is not supposed to be a professional engineering competition. If the engineering mentors want that, there are other avenues. FIRST is meant to Inspire the STUDENTS. The more we allow for these professionally designed and built robots to dominate the FIRST competitions, the more it encourages student run teams to start letting the engineers design and build the robots. FIRST will start to discourage many teams from participating when they realize that the robot they spent six weeks on has no chance of success at the competition.
Actually, I have seen all-student built teams win. Team 939 won at their regional (Sirbleedsalot who posted earlier in this thread is from that team), and my former team, 350, won the BAE regional with 121 and 126.

Sure, sometimes the student-built teams may not have the same resources that they would if they had engineers, and perhaps sometimes the bots are of the same caliber as others, but it doesnt mean they cant win. Keep in mind that strategy and alliances are a vital part of the game, especially this year. It's not just about who has a better bot.
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Unread 08-18-2005, 01:04 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Baker
Why do FIRST teams start with the intention of this being a "student design competition"?
Because some teams don't want to turn into the "our-engineers-build-99%-of-our-robot powerhouse" they've seen dominate the competition time and time again. But instead of asking for help from mentors who may have a better understanding of what's going on, these teams go from one extreme to the other. Personally, I was a little like that when I started in FIRST. I'd like to think that, in the past five years, I've grown a little wiser. After being involved for awhile and seeing teams on both ends of the spectrum, I don't think either extreme does anyone much good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanddrag
But the mentors already know everything. The point is not always to get the robot done fastest, it is for you students to learn something.
I'm mentoring a team this year, and I sure don't know everything! Especially when it comes to engineering. I know enough to get by in a pinch, and I know what I learned from my years in FIRST. For me, part of the fun of FIRST is coming back and learning so much new stuff year after year - not just from other mentors but from high school students as well! But math is, by far, my worst subject, and - though I think engineers are so awesome - engineering really isn't my thing. The primary reason I'm joining this team to help with team organization and fund-raising (... raising funds - sorry, Schuff ) When the time comes, I'll help out with the robot but it won't be with my ability to do mind-boggling physics. It will be helping the students on the team figure out the best way to attach piece A to piece B. It'll be me saying, "hmm I'm not sure if we can do that - let me check the rules" when someone has a question about the legality of what they're about to do. No, I don't know everything and honestly, I don't want to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RbtGal1351
One thing that's up to debate for me and my team is who should be running the organization and the managing of the team -- students or adults?
Both.

When I was on team 93, the mentors took care of travel arrangements, running some team meetings, issues with the high school and getting food to the team during the build and at competitions - they oversaw students taking care of the majority of everything else, organization-wise. Ordering shirts, picking out swappables, getting buttons made, setting up and running fundraisers, setting up meetings with potential new sponsors, doing demonstrations ... even ordering materials (with mentor approval!) was sometimes done by the students. The mentors were always there to make sure we didn't screw up too badly - but they did, occasionally, let us screw up and learn from our mistakes. One of the most important things Sean Schuff ever taught me was how to fail forward. There's a great book by John C. Maxwell on the subject called Failing Forward: How to Make the Most of Your Mistakes - check it out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by phrontist
I see absolutely no value in an entirely engineer built robot. Is that really so insulting? I mean, if the students just watch the engineer do brilliant things, they might as well read a book about great innovators.
Perhaps watching an engineer build a robot doesn't inspire you personally, but what if that's all the students on the team are looking for? What if they are inspired by watching someone else?

Don't make the mistake of thinking everyone learns the same, thinks the same, and is inspired in the same ways as you.
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Unread 08-18-2005, 01:06 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

((I split the above post and this one, because as a single post it was just too long!))

Alright, back to the beginning:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Baker
Dare I ask... Which "team" is better? What defines "better"?
When I first started in FIRST I would have said, "A team that is 100% student-run is the best way to go!" The last few years on my high school team I realized, "No, having a perfect balance of student and mentor contributions is the best way to go!" Now, I don't think either of those statements is correct because there is no best way.

Rich pointed out before that the key is flexibility. What works for team A doesn't work for team B. Similarly, what works for team A one year, might not work for them the next.

Let's take a closer look at teams A and B:

Year One
  • Team A is almost entirely student run. The students have elected other students to lead individual subteams, and everything seems to be running very smoothly. The mentors decide to help out, but take a back seat when it comes to the majority of the work. Ship day comes along, and while the somewhat frazzled students struggle to get everything packed and ready to go on time, they make it. Team A competes at two competitions and places thrid and eighth, respectively. At their team banquet, they reminisce about the great year they had and everyone is sad that the student-elected leaders will all be graduating. In the end, the students have inspired the mentors with their fantastic designs (some of which the mentors would not have thought of themselves!) and the students were inspired by other students on the team for taking such a big leadership role.
  • Team B is mostly run by mentors. The students have a hand in some PR stuff, and occasionally are allowed to cut basic parts in the machine shop. The robot is finished by week four - mostly built in the main sponsor's workshop. The robot is brought to the high school where the mentor's show off their creation. The students are amazed at what an awesome job the engineers have done - not only does the machine run perfectly, the welds are immaculate and the graphics are perfect. Team B competes at a few regionals and takes first place, then goes on to win the Championship. Even though the students didn't have a huge part in builidng the robot, winning the competition and seeing what a great job their engineers did excites them and inspires them to pursue a more active role in the team and in engineering itself.

In both instances, the students are inspired to continue with FIRST and engineering. Both teams had "good years" and did well in the competition. For these two teams, the way their respective teams were run worked. Now, check this out:
  • If team A were run like team B, the mentors would run the show. No student elections would be held, because there would be no student leadership positions to fill. Students who were once eager and willing to take the lead either quit or don't do much of anything, since they've been given the distinct impression that they are not needed. The engineers come in with their robot and, while some of the students ooh and ahh over it, the majority of students think, "Why did they do this thing, this way?" They question the engineers and get the answer, "Because this is the way it will work best." Conflict arises when the students think they have a better solution, and since the robot is finished two weeks early they still have time to implement what they want to do. The engineers won't have it, and take the robot back to their shop to make sure the students don't "mess with it". The students have no time to practice driving and end up placing last at all of their competitions. They have no team spirit and a lot of the students aren't sure they'll come back the next year. The only way the students have been inspired, is to go to the other extreme and make sure they're in charge next year, because "they know they'll do a better job."

Case in point - what works for one team doesn't necessarily work for another.

Going back to teams A and B; the teams are in their second year now. The rookies on both teams are hearing how wonderful FIRST is and what a great time the teams had the previous year.

Year Two
  • Team A holds the student election but the elected students aren't all that concerned about their positions. The mentors start to worry when it's week three and practically nothing is done. Concerned about thier team, the mentors start to step up and help with design and building of the robot. Unfortunately, they are met with resistance from students on the team who were around during year one. These students insist that they can build the robot on their own again so the mentors back down. Week five comes up more quickly than anyone expected and all the robot consists of is a shoddy frame, some wires and a couple of half finished wheels. The mentors finish the robot - again, with much protest from the team veterans - and the team goes on to compete at two regionals. They place 20/22 at their first regional and dead last in the second. The team goes on to the Championship but doesn't do well there either, since everyone is so physically and emotionally drained. The end of the year banquet isn't nearly as fun, because everyone is thinking, "wow, where did we go wrong? It worked last year - what happened?" No one is inspired and half the team quits because they had such a miserable time.
  • Team B goes on being mostly mentor-run. Like the previous year, the robot is done in 4 weeks to allow the students more drive time and the students are yet again amazed and what their engineers have come up with. This year, the students are allowed to take a slightly larger role with PR and are allowed to put together the Chairman's Award presentation. Again, the team dominates the competition and places third at the Championship. At the end of the year, the team celebrates and thinks, "this works for us - it's the way our team should be run!" The students have been inspired by the engineers' design and by the fact that they did so well - again - in the competition.

Team A is a good example of "what works for a team one year, may not work the next." Had the students stepped back a little bit, and realized that they did need help, they might have done much better and had a lot more fun.

Team B is a good example of "just because a team is run by mentors, doesn't mean the students come away uninspired." Team B found what worked best for them and ran with it. Both years the students walked away feeling inspired and wanting to know more about and do more with engineering. They're two for two on successful* years.

Bottom line:

The cases above are just two ways things could go. There are a thousand different scenarios and a thousand different ways to run a team, and neither of them is "the best way." There is no formula to figure out what will inspire people the most, what will win you the competition the easiest, or how to run the team as smoothly as possible.

The "best" way to run a team isn't by having it all student run, or all mentor run. It's not splitting the "power" 50/50 and having students do their half and mentors do theirs. It's about finding what works best for the team - finding what inspires team members and having the ability to realize that you may have to change the way your team is run slightly, from year to year.

As soon as you can do that, you've truly found the best way to run a team.

* = successful, as the students on the team were inspired by what they saw and learned.
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Unread 08-18-2005, 01:34 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

Phrontist: First - don't feel bad about having opinions and making them public. You can't try to please all of the people all of the time.

For everyone on this thread: just be sure that you post due to logic - not emotion. I know there are people that disagree with some of Andy Baker's points (phrontist's posts and others prove it). The reason that Andy is so well respected is that he doesn't (okay - rarely) posts when his emotions are controlling his typing. He posts when he has thought about it very clearly and logically.


Quote:
Originally Posted by phrontist
I see absolutely no value in an entirely engineer built robot. Is that really so insulting? I mean, if the students just watch the engineer do brilliant things, they might as well read a book about great innovators.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Okay, the reason for the post.

I'm going to disagree with the above statement, and I'm going to go DEEP into the FIRST rhetoric archives.

When Dean used to explain what FIRST was all about, he used to use the example of an NBA game. When young people went to NBA games to watch Michael Jordan, everyone left wanting to play in the NBA and be just like Michael Jordan. They were inspired. Was it because these young people got to play in the NBA game? Heck NO (duh!). It's because they watched greatness occurring in front of them.

FIRST used to preach this a long time ago. The message was that people ARE inspired just by watching - the NBA proves it. That doesn't mean that is the only way to run a team - but it IS a perfectly acceptable way.
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Unread 08-18-2005, 02:46 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

I see things from both points of view that Andy started this thread from. When I first started doing FIRST I was on a small grass roots team. The team I was on has been struggling to find a company to give them a major sponsorship to help fund the team. The team remained competitive regardless of the lack of technical support they recieved from professionals. The team functioned with a teacher, a professional welder and the students. As the team grew in the next few years they were able to expand to recieve help from some of the parents who were engineers. The designs were still made by the students; they were simply assisted by the adults.The inspiration in all this comes from the guidance that was given to the students. The inspiration allowed for cleaner and better built machines.
The team still does not have an corporate sponsor with engineers but the students learn enough about theyre machine and with some guidance from the adults the still functions at a competitive level and the students learn alot about engineering, science and awhole lot more.

Moral of the story: A team does not need to have engineers to compete competitively but proper guidance from engineers is always a welcome contribution to a team.


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Last edited by Pat Roche : 08-18-2005 at 03:13 PM.
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Unread 08-18-2005, 03:03 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

Allot of people have thrown the word build around and used it in a variety of forms. I want to be clear here. Are we talking about building or designing? They are two very different things and i think shape you're posts into very different messages.

Overall i don't think mentor involvement should be viewed as a bad thing. I love mentors and think they do bring inspiration to FIRST. Its just i see mentors get over eager in their desire to help. Nothing is wrong with a robot that is student built (yes their are student built robots believe it or not) also their is nothing wrong with mentor built robots. I guess the only place i get rubbed wrong is when i see mentors designing the robot over the kids. And you cant tell me it doesn't happen. lots of us are guilty of wanting to promote our idea over somebody Else's. I'm not saying the robots need to be 100% student built. I just think that the robot should be representative of the students ideas.

Also this thread will stay alive longer if we don't directly refer to others post. your not going to change someones opinion by pointing out where you think they are wrong. People are untitled to their ideas and will get defensive about them. Respect peoples opinion even if you don't agree with it. This is a good thread and i would hate to see it fall apart into personal attacks.
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Unread 08-18-2005, 04:02 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

I am going to state a small lesson that I learned on my trip to Africa. I guess that it is a science lesson that can be applied to this topic.

I was told when I arrived that I needed to drink water. When I stated that I wasn't thirsty I was told that by the time you felt thirsty your body was already being stressed by lack of water. If however you had a consistent supply of water to your body then you would not get thirsty and your body wouldn't become stressed.

Take the above story and replace the water with engineers. A lot of the time we do not realize our needs until it's too late.
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Unread 08-18-2005, 04:14 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory
This thread could go on for ten pages and I guarentee the only thing that will be agreed on is "to each their own"
Thatís exactly what I wanted to bring up. I pointed it out before, but I feel that I need to reemphasize it. Each team has itís own priorities. The way your team is run depends on these priorities. If youíre not sure what your team is all about, I suggest sitting everyone down in a meeting and trying to figure it out.

Everyone is arguing and showing why what they think might be ďbetterĒ, but few are seeing that everyone has different perspectives. There are merits to more or less mentor involement, but each team has to chose which they want to take advantage of. One team may feel that winning at the expense of not giving students as much hands on experience is worth it. Another may feel that it doesnít even matter if they make it to competition as long as the students got to do everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanddrag
But the mentors already know everything. The point is not always to get the robot done fastest, it is for you students to learn something.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeTheEng
Personally, I sometimes find mentors are too limited in thier decisions. Engineers tend to stick with "well, we know how to do this so we'll keep doing it this way". Students, esp when they come and go tend to bring creativity and different approaches that us old curmudgeon sometime lack.
Iíve found that inexperienced people are the most creative. They donít have the background that they need to get the job done, so they have to make it up as they go along. If someone tells you how to crack open a walnut, youíll keep using what they teach you. If you figure it out on your own, you may have a new, better method. If you want your students to learn and be creative, you might have to let them flop around and make mistakes. While throwing knowledge at newbies might be more efficient, it hinders creativity.

You could also see this the other way around. Fostering creativity might not be as important as completing the project in the allotted 6 weeks. They can still learn after everything is finished. Learning through observation has it merits. FIRST allows students to see how real world engineering works. If they donít learn that much about the technical details right now, theyíll be going to college anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander McGee
I think that the real problem here is everyone's definition of "performance". So what if the robot doesn't match up to the other ones? So what if there is something that was designed/built/engineered better than yours? Does this not inspire our students? Does it not make them want to do better the next year?
Just because a robot doesnít perform that great doesnít mean that people wonít learn or wonít be inspired. Our 2004 drivetrain was horrible (my apologies to Scott). In 2005, we analyzed it and figured out all the problems with it and fixed them in the new design. There were simple solutions to each problem individually, but it was decided that the drivetrain would be completely overhauled instead. Various ideas were borrowed from other teams (mostly the higher ranked ones). It worked better than we intended. A few parents pointed out that the evolution from the 2004 to the 2005 drivetrain was incredible. There are only a few minor issues with it that need to be worked out. Had the 2004 drivetrain worked reasonably well, it may have been decided to just tweak it. We would not have looked to other teams, and would not have learned some new techniques that were used in building/designing the new drivetrain.

Of course, some might feel that consistent ďfailureĒ would discourage people. Why would they keep coming back if they know they are going to fail? As the 2004 drivetrain started to show its wear and tear in its poor performance, a lot of team members started to get discouraged. I couldnít believe how many people were just moping around despite the fact that we still had a decent chance. If these failures happen at inopportune times, people might start leaving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrienne E.
A reoccurring debate on our team has always been, if there are no high school students interested in doing a task (wiring, programming, chairmans, animation, or anything on the team) then what?
On 1351, if nobody wants to do it, it doesnít get done. Weíve had to abandon a few projects because nobody wanted to do them. The people (students) that were qualified to do it were busy with other things and nobody else wanted to learn. It seems harsh, but itís all about teamwork. Someone always steps up to take care of mission critical projects even if they donít like it, because they know it needs to be done. Life isnít always fair; if you want to help the team succeed, you might have to do something you donít really want to.

However, by setting students up like this, they may shy away from engineering. If they have bad experiences about it before they go to college and get stuck with whatever degree they spent the last 4 years on, they might do something else. By doing the ďdirty workĒ for them, theyíll be able to have the full experience because the team is able to advance. Instead of seeing the bad side of engineering, theyíll see the good side and hopefully stick with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve W
A proper balance of mentors, engineers and students is one were they are all learning from each other, all being inspired and most important, that they are all having fun.
Quote:
Originally Posted by techtiger1
The robots without mentors would be boring and the kids would have no one to look up to and no one to guide them in building it. I know that on 1251 without our engineering and various other mentors we would not be able to make our robots and things we deisgn a reality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip W.
Just because a robot is 100% student-built, doesn't mean mentors and engineers still can't help. We must remember that mentors should only be teaching. If mentors keep to teaching students the design process and how to use a machine and etc., and ensure the students are productive...
It seems that most people are sitting here. This is the safe spot. You get the best of both worlds. However, as Iíve been trying to point out, you donít get to reap the full benefits of either extreme. If your team thinks that you need to be 100% student run, you get all the benefits that come with it. The same goes for a 100% mentor run team. If your team thinks that they can live in the middle, then so be it.

Just remember that you have to chose what is in your teamís best interests. If you havenít done so aleady, get your team together and discuss what you want to get out of FIRST. Doing so will be good for more than just deciding on mentors, but also how you want to run your team in general. If your team has a direction and purpose, I think that youíll be more successful. Success of course being defined however you want. Now go! Call everyone and set up a meeting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mechanicalbrain
Also this thread will stay alive longer if we don't directly refer to others post.
Oops, sorry. But I think I needed to in order to prove my point.
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Unread 08-18-2005, 05:12 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

This is an interesting thread. I wish i had the time to write a lengthy response.

I am one of the founding mmmbers of an entirely student run team. We are not this way out of stubborness its just the way things have always been and we have never had any problem with it or seen the necessity for engineers. We are a competitive team and i do see that we are missing all that much. We have a number of extremely experienced/skilled students who mentor less experienced team members and we are our own self contained bundle of inspiration. We take great pride in knowing that our robot is 100% of our own design and craftsmanship.
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Unread 08-18-2005, 06:24 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

Maybe the formula here is that there is no formula.

And honestly, when everything's said and done -- what are we going to remember in our past about robotics? No one can do everything on the team but each student has the ability to get as much out of the experience as he or she wants. FIRST gives me (and everyone else) an open opportunity -- if i wanted to learn something and I couldn't learn it from my own team, there are always other teams I can go to for assistance. That's the point!

It always boils down to WHAT YOU WANT and HOW YOU'RE GOING TO GET IT. If everybody adopts this attitude (with respect to other's wishes) everything can fall into place. Satisfied, Dissatisfied -- it's all in the eyes of the beholder -- and sometimes these views can't be shared because the experiencers and the passerbyers see two different things.

We (clearly) have our differences in this chat, but it's all about opening our eyes: to problems, to discordance, and to solutions.
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Last edited by nehalita : 08-18-2005 at 06:26 PM.
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Unread 08-18-2005, 07:42 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Foley
Actually, I have seen all-student built teams win. Team 939 won at their regional (Sirbleedsalot who posted earlier in this thread is from that team), and my former team, 350, won the BAE regional with 121 and 126.

Sure, sometimes the student-built teams may not have the same resources that they would if they had engineers, and perhaps sometimes the bots are of the same caliber as others, but it doesnt mean they cant win. Keep in mind that strategy and alliances are a vital part of the game, especially this year. It's not just about who has a better bot.
Correct. I did over-generalize here. I know our team in the past has had great success at regionals as a student run team. But taking in the big picture, the "professionally built robots" do end up winning at a much higher level.


Another point...People, please don't take internet discussions too seriously. Many people will voice different opinions here, and they are not necessarily personal attacks.
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Unread 08-20-2005, 03:51 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

Our team has always prided ourselves as being a primarily student designed, student build and student run team. I believe that if students designs the robot, builds the robot, repairs the robot and are able to effectively compete, a team will take away much more than by following an engineer's example. If you come by our pit at a competition, you will see four to five students repairing the robot and a mentor standing back, allowing the students to repair the robot as they feel is best, and no engineer in sight. Seeing something that I helped design, build and compete with do well makes me motivated more than anything else.

Our mentors are there mainly to do registrations, supervision and make sure we get the parts we need. Our mentors are there to help when needed, but help improve student designs than imposing their own. Our mentors are primarily there to do anything the students aren't aloud/unable to do.

Our engineer sponsors come in throughout the build season to check on our progress and help with any parts we simply don't have the machines to make ourselves. The engineers are ready to help if needed, but we try and avoid having any aspect of the robot engineer designed.

You want to see something interesting? A new mentor from a mentor-run team trying to work with a student-run team.
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Unread 08-21-2005, 03:12 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie Reynolds
The "best" way to run a team isn't by having it all student run, or all mentor run. It's not splitting the "power" 50/50 and having students do their half and mentors do theirs. It's about finding what works best for the team - finding what inspires team members and having the ability to realize that you may have to change the way your team is run slightly, from year to year.

As soon as you can do that, you've truly found the best way to run a team.
I agree. Team dynamics change so much from year to year that I think it's critical that teams meet in the pre-season for teambuilding exercises to learn what will work and won't for them. As the FIRST website states. "The FIRST Robotics Competition is an exciting, multinational competition that teams professionals and young people to solve an engineering design problem in an intense and competitive way."
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Unread 08-21-2005, 07:11 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

OK. I'll post this quote one last time, and then I'm never bringing it up again. I've done it to many times. It's someone else's turn.

Quote:

Portions of Speech by Dean Kamen

1998 FIRST Competition Kickoff Workshop, January 10, 1998

The Center for New Hampshire, Manchester, NH

[imperfectly transcribed from a videotape]

copyright 1998 PNHS and GMPT

I donít know how many ways to try and continue to say it. . . What this organization is about is not education per se. I heard a lot of people, even last night, and I think they mean well, and I understand what youíre saying, there needs to be a balance, but I heard people saying "well sure that other team did great, but thats because the engineers did all the work. The kids didnít build the robot." I have to tell you, FIRST is not an educational institution. Its okay if the kids build the whole robot, its okay if they donít touch it. FIRST ought to be to education what the NFL or the World Series is to little league.

Just do the mental experiment in which there is no professional football, there is no little league. Do you think that little kids at the age of six, seven, and eight are going to get up and spend hours exercising, striving to get better and better at what would become a cardiovascular exercise running up and down a field? Imagine how many kids would spend those kinds of hours practicing basketball if there was no Michael Jordan.

The harsh reality is this country doesnít have an NCAA of smarts or Olympic Committee of brains. We donít have people as well known as Michael Jordan doing little things like inventing CAT scanners, curing diseases, putting a man on the moon. You and your companies are those people.
Bottom line? It really does you no good to wring your hands over how much your students are learning. What they are learning making a few parts a year is pretty minor compared to what they will learn in collage and on the job. I came out of 3 years on 95 as a student thinking I had soaked up every little detail there was on robotics. The reality was that I had soaked up a bunch of details on how to make a FIRST robot. Theres a difference.

Our job as mentors isn't to teach them how to make a robot. Or to hand them a box of parts and say "Go". It's to teach them that there is value in technology and being among the people who create it. This isn't an easy thing to teach someone who wants nothing more then to get out of school. But you can do it. Just stay focused on whats important.

If I find a student on my team who came through FIRST having learned nothing more then he wanted to go to MIT, I'll give my self a pat on the back and start counting down to kickoff.

-Andy A.
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Unread 08-26-2005, 10:29 PM
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Re: Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory
I could write an entire page about this, but really all it comes down to is the fact that there is no "correct" amount of mentor involvement.

This thread could go on for ten pages and I guarantee the only thing that will be agreed on is "to each their own"
In two sentences, Cory managed to say more of (perhaps ironically) absolute truth than all of the other posts in this thread combined.

I'll bite. Hard.

<ACID>
Being on a team with no adult technical mentors, to answer the question "Why do teams voluntarily do FIRST without adult technical mentors?" would require me to justify the actions of myself and my team to others. This is something I am loathe to do in a largely closed-minded (among other things) community with such a degree of homogeneity of thought as ChiefDelphi (so shoot me... and prove me right). But what I can say is that actions speak louder than words. The only students that left Team 19 after our extremely unsuccessful 2005 season were graduating seniors. I don't know if it would be the same with another team; I don't know anybody on another team personally. But I am proud of them for it. Our motivations are our own. The "inexplicable" fact remains that we voluntarily participate in FIRST without adult technical mentors.
</ACID>


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