FiM Idea: Build SeasonRookie Round-up

This past year, team 27 did a really cool thing:
Basically they invited mentors for new teams to talk about the hard lessons learned.

I think there is some unique opportunity for something similar to be done in the build season.

The First Saturday after Kick-off, have the Rookies (and possibly 2nd year teams) bring their kits to an agreed upon space. Vetran teams would be there with tools and some extra parts, and possibly a bot that played a similar game (like a 2006 bot for this years game). That Saturday morning, the Vetrans would help the Rookies assemble the Kit-Bot chassis. Some would do wide, some would do narrow. Then the Rookie teams would get their bots flashed with either the standard skid steer or arcade modes and get the chance to drive the bots around a bit on a mock field. A kit bot can literally be put together within a couple of hours with almost no tools.
While the bots are being assembled, the CRios can all be tested and flashed on a common test bed (you would likey want 2 or 3) and then swapped into the Rookie’s machine. Rookies can be shown on their hardware how to flash and how to add in a motor.

By mid afternoon, everybody could have a driving chassis.

In the afternoon, some additional parts could be thrown on to show the mock-up process and play around a bit.

Vetrans get good Chairman’s award material, and a chance to see multiple chassis interacting on a mock field. This is early enough in the build season to correct some assumptions.

Rookies walk away with a working driving chassis at the end of week1. Working with a Rookie team this year was an eye opener. It only took us 3 weeks to build a pretty decent little bot, but they didn’t start until week 3!

This would also help with the Week 5 crunch where the Rookies need help with programming right as the Vetrans are trying to finish the overly complex robot that is killing itself. With the basics covered, there should be a lot less of that sort of stuff.

If anyone has done one of these in the past, please let me know the lessons learned. I am trying to put this together as possible ideas for next year. Please add on anything you might like to see.

Also any volunteers or ideas for Venue or teams interested in participating would be great. Ideally we could set up a Southeasst, West, and North one of these.

Hi Isaac,

Thank you for your help during our rookie year. We did not get our chassis to run until the end of week 3 and beginning of week 4. Why? We have to open up the tough boxes at least 8 times. We have to disassemble the whole kit chassis about 4 times. This is because I gave the students the manual and let them do it themselves. They made a lot of mistakes because someone think he can put things together without reading the manual and he felt proud of it. Sometimes they did not follow instructions or were just careless. I made some mistakes too. I let it happen because it is how they learn and partly because one person can not watch every student at all times.

I am concern that if you get every rookie team a running chassis at the end of the first weekend, it is great for the veteran teams because they do not have to rescue these rookie teams in week 4 or 5 when they are busy themselves. However we may be taking away some of the learning opportunities. Rookie teams need to struggle a little, put in some effort, some sweat, read the manuals, documentation and try things out. If the veteran teams do too much, the rookie teams may not learn anything, and they will continue to be dependent on veteran teams for help.

I like the general idea. Perhaps it should be done at the end of week 2 or 3, not week 1. You can count us in to help rookie teams next year. We are now experts in assembling and disassembling the kit chassis frame and tough box. And we have probably exhausted all possible ways to do it wrong.


The dependence factor is one that concerns me too. That is why I would make sure that the assistants are exactly that. Assistance. Make sure the directions are followed and understood. As you are aware, damage can occur when things are improperly assembled. Talking with some of the OCCRA folks, they do similar things to this. This helps teams out a bunch.

While I agree that you don’t learn as much without struggling, I also don’t think it is worth while to beat ones head against the wall. I can give a student a physics, calculus, and a geartrain analysis book and while technically they have all the tools to succeed, the chance of success is low.

Think of this as a basics fundamental tools course to kick teams off in the write direction. That way there are less questions about which part needs a washer (both your team and the other Rookies we helped had this issue), and more How would I adpat this motor.