Getting every member to know everything possible.

As a mentor, I have no trouble at all helping out the middle school LEGO League Team on small things such as getting things to work, getting the game board set up, etc. In the past 2 years, however, I have been put in a bigger role of trying to manage the team so that everything works out as best as possible. I’ve been fairly successful at teaching about drivetrains, but not too great on how exactly to build them; how to program, and how to do other significant things.

Today, I had a quick chat with the advisor of the team, and she was a bit concerned about how every member on it would be able to get the needed information for competition. Specifically for the technical presenatation, and how the members are going to be able to know how the robot was built (design techniques, etc), what are the tech specs, what programs are on it, etc. The big problem is that there is a chance that not every person is going to be able to do what they want to do with the bot, and therefor, not everyone is going to know everything they want to know about the robot. That is undoubtedly a challenge to overcome.

So, I need some ideas. I already have a drafted strategy, but I need some input: how exactly do you, as a mentor or part of a group of mentors, overcome/tackle the challenge to get every single FLL team member to know a reasonable but significant amount of info regarding the robot? As far as the team I mentor is concerned: there are about 11 members (all middle schoolers), 2-4 mentors, and the advisor.

Thanks.

-Joe

If you’re team is broken down into component design teams (IE, one team is working on the reef, another on the shipwreck, etc. It sounds like it is.), having each CDT given a presentation on their part to the whole team is probably worth while. Also, a quick tech sheet on the robot info for people to review just before their presentation can be extremely helpful.

X-Whaaaaaaaat?!? 11 members? isn’t there a limit of 10?

This is my first year not being an FLL kid, and during my tenure as an FLL kid I never understood why every kid must know about the robot. Sure FIRST is engineering based, but the big boys are diversified just like FLL was wayyy back in 2001.

When I was on a team of 8 members with about 6 of them usually on the research side, the six each picked up something interesting to them just by happen stance. Simply make sure that the kids know who knows what. Have the really knowledgable ones hold back until the tougher questions, the ones they are qualified to answer. Chances are there’ll be easy ones that most team members will be able to answer and then there’ll be tough ones that the kids who live the robot can answer.

[quote=iCurtis]X-Whaaaaaaaat?!?

Excatly - use your resources wisely and have the sub-team leaders learn and pass down the relavent info to the students. Each student should get an overview of the whole system but the few should each concentrate on their own susbsystem. But the leader should understand all the necessary details to integrate the sub-systems properly.

Just one way to break down responsibilities.

Ellery[/quote]

Yeah, there is, but I believe that’s only at competition when that rule takes effect. Even then, of the three competitions I’ve been to, the judges have been a bit lenient. At the same time, we make sure we only have ten or fewer people coming anyway. The team has never been to states though.

By the way, big thanks for the input. Got a few more questions. When your team has two things due: the technical and the reasearch project, is it necessary to split the team up with half on the robot and half on the research, and then have like a quick meeting to review it all for the entire team? The team has tried this and it worked fairly well last year, but the advisor seems like she doesn’t want to do that this year. It’s either all on robot or all on research.

-Joe

This is my first year mentoring a brand spankin’ new FLL team and we have been using the method of letting everyone build during meetings and do independent research at home with a quick wrap-up meeting at the end to see what everyone has come up with so far on their research project. We aren’t too sure yet how well this will work out in the long run, but for now, it gives the students the chance to work with the kit and brainstorm competition solutions together.

YES! If you can get everything done with everyone working on everything, your kids are more mature than anyone I was ever on a team with/ ever was. If everyone does everything you WILL run out of time and you WON’T get things done.

Every team member should know something about everything. Obviously, you know the most about what you did the most.

On the technical side, some don’t know programming at all, and that’s OK. But you should know the key features about your robot - what kind of drive train, gearing, where are the sensors and what do they do, etc. When judges come to the pits for a second look at your team (after the formal interviews), you never know who they will find to talk with.

For project presentation, everyone should be able to answer general questions. Specific questions about a fact in your presentation could be answered by the person who researched it. Judges like to see several people raising their hands or otherwise indicating they know something about the question. No one person should dominate the conversation.

I agree 1000%. (yeah, I know that’s a bit much :rolleyes: ) We have 1 builder, four programmers (including the builder) and three who worked on the project a lot. We also made sure to give them all several runs through the project presentation, including one where two mentors (myself included) acted as judges. We identified areas that needed improvement. We also made sure that everyone knew the correct answer to each question asked.

When I was on an FLL team, we had a “brain storm session” where each group would explain to everyone else what they did, why they did it, how, etc. After we had the presentations, the mentors would sit down and ask each kid a set of questions about anything they wanted to make sure they knew about everything.