Well, excluding Drive Team, I’d have to say that whatever your team has as hands on with the robot is the most popular. For 2410, Build team is the most popular. It’s the department where you get the most hands on work with the robot and spend the most time doing something that feels worthwhile. Our most hard working (and sadly under appreciated team) would be our Public Relations group. They truly are the backbone of our team, and without them our team wouldn’t be where we are today.
In my experiences, the average student (espcially new students) want to be involved in building the robot in a hands on way. This would mostly manifest itself in students wanting to be on the mechanical subteam, for those who have subteams.
The hardest working team, at least on 2421, was the programmer. We only had one person who could program, and he was also in charge of maintaining the control system. No doubt, he put in the most time outside of regular meetings.
For some reason a good majority of our freshman like to gravitate toward the electrical department. And since we started having meetings for software team a good deal of new students have taken an interest in that group as well.
We assign people roles. They can put on their application what they prefer but they are then assigned what team they will work with for the year. Letting people pick whatever team they want randomly is an invitation to chaos.
The kids are allowed to exchange positions in the pre season but switching them in the middle of the season can cause problem so they don’t switch up too often. Some kids to get agitated when they don’t get their first choice (most kids want to work on the robot and stay out of P.A.W. which used to be considered being locked in the dungeon considering they were confined to a smallish room at our old site. Mostly new kids work in P.A.W.
We do the same, I changed twice (from Website, to Animation, to Carpentry) back in the pre-season when I was a rookie, but once Kickoff comes along, everyone is set on their sub-division.
Not really, since they usually get either what or close to what they choose. We have each new member pick three choices in order of preference, and also have them put down any previous experience/other comments.
Mechanical team is always our biggest. We tend to have a lot of students that want to machine and assemble the robot.
Our fastest growing team has been the fundraising team which until about 3 seasons ago didn’t really exist because we tried to keep within the budget given to us by a couple of corporate sponsors. Adding a 2nd regional back into the mix and trying to up our game has demanded more funding.
This year I believe we have the most new students on electrical/programming.
They are all highly valued positions, but when the rookies came on board this year we had a larger than usual amount who wanted to learn programming. The exciting thing is the majority of them are willing to put the time in to get up to speed with LabView.
Those who have been on the team for a while realize that we tend to put at least one member with programming experience on the drive team to help analyze any system faults.
The programming team also has great influence on what gets built. They have to understand how every system works and what sensors are needed for good control.
At our off-season event in November I was encouraged by how many students were interested in scouting. I think they caught the vision of how much influence that piece has on our success.
We do great PR work, but there is still a struggle to get student ownership over the print materials. We’re starting to get more students to realize that awards and financial grants are won based on both the merits of the team and in our ability to communicate that to others.
All in all, you get what you celebrate. The more we celebrate the under-served parts of our team the more students step up and make that part great.
Mostly our kids want to be important to the team, to have an impact on the final product.
It’s hard to really say which subgroup is most popular with us… they all seem to get new recruits fairly easily. We come up with a project for our two-week summer session that lets them work their way around to each subgroup, and then have something to take home and keep (this year it was a simple little driving robot that would turn when you clapped). That gets them a little exposure to every group. In the fall, we tell them to start thinking hard about which group they want to be in, and we try to give them more real-world exposure working on the previous year’s robot. By the time we get to the build season, everyone’s decided where they want to go, and we ask that they stay in that subgroup for the remainder of the season. So far, we haven’t had to do any shuffling around past that - the subgroups have ended up good sizes without any extra effort.
I’d say the absolute most popular are those groups that get to actually “do” stuff - electrical and mechanical. At the end of the day, they can look at the robot and point to what they did. It’s not really the same with programming… and for us, “everyone” is on the PR team (as PR is more or less separate from actually building the robot, and at competition a lot of your PR comes from the pit crew), although we only have a few people dedicated to it.
Build has been the most popular with our team since it’s the most hands-on and the one that most new recruits have felt comfortable with. This year programming has definitely been the most active since we have scheduled more programming sessions for the off-season compared to build and electrical.
We keep the technical subsystems around 3-5 people each but, we allot more manpower to the nontechnical subteams because those things are generally harder/more tedious than hands-on work. We ARE a robotics team, and geeks usually lack social skills needed to get sponsors.
I’m sorry, I don’t usually do this, but I felt the need to.
I am a “geek”, and have earned our team $5500 within the last month, and I’m working on more! Not all geeks lack social skills! Wait, I take that back. I barely know any geek that lacks social skills! Have you seen us at competition, or showing off our robot? I’d say when it comes to social skills, geeks are just about the most social people I know! I’m not saying every geek in the nation is an outgoing go-getter, but a large percentage are, and that number grows greatly with FIRST robotics.
Please get more information when using words like usually to describe a group. Some may, but that doesn’t mean all do on a regular basis.