A brief intro. I am the lead sponsor for our team. We have recently increased the number of students traveling to the Championship which has dramatically increased our expenses. I need input in designing some beefed up learning objectives for the Atlanta event. I feel compelled to get a lot more $$$s worth of education out of this trip. A simple essay on what I saw and learned is not significant enough and in my mind needs to be tailored to student roles on the team. I am thinking along the lines of students doing detailed interviews with students and mentors from top tier teams to learn about how they developed their robot, web, animation, program…
I will need to provide the students with as much structure and pre-thought on how to interview and what questions to ask. I really need to get them to elaborate during the interviews and get involved with the conversation. It will be difficult to get the seniors to complete this task since they are very short on time in school and I have but a few things to hold over their head. I do feel that I can make this part of the decision process for next years students who want to attend a second event.
First, I’d look at teams that have won this years regional chairmans, previous years national chairmans, this years regional winners, and previous championship winners. Assign students one team from an inspiration award (chairmans) and one or more teams for competition awards (regional and champs awards.)
BUT, BE CAREFUL! Make sure your students know that many teams are busy, VERY BUSY. Make sure your student’s arn’t pushy or annoying.
I appretiate your suggestions as to which teams to target. You comment about becoming a pest brings the following idea to mind. I will have prepared letters in an envelope that students will deliver to a mentor from these teams. It will explain our intent and inquire as to which students and/or mentors will be good candidates for them to interveiw and request some possible times and locations so that the interview can be a scheduled appointment.
Instead of the traditional ‘interview’, our leader plans to have students look for specific robot features and then find out details on them.
For example, we might have three students looking for crab drives. They would need to watch matches or investigate by walking around in the pits, find the teams with this type of drive, and then get details of the design, how it works, how it was made, etc.
This option combines watching matches, identifying certain features, and the investigation work.
ps - don’t tell our students, they don’t know about this yet.
Setting up a detailed scouting form would be good for a couple of reasons. The students would need to see the robots up close and ask questions. They would need to observe how the robots actually work under pressure. They would need to compare robots and rank as if you were picking your Championship alliance. This is not as easy a it sounds. Our team have been working on this for 3 years now and they are constantly improving. They have increased their observation skills, they will now ask questions and they work better as a team now. they also have less free time as they are scouting more.
Our team had a binder with pictures of the robots, and a scouting form of every robot at each event that they were at, I believe.
Your students might learn a lot by attending the robotics conference sessions. In many of them, teams will have an opportunity to discuss how their team organizations work - what works for them and what doesn’t - based on the topic of the session. A great place to not only learn more about the topic at hand, but to network with other teams as well.
This is what I was going to suggest. I speant a lot of time here last year finding out what kinds of projects team had done and some of their marketing techniques. The Hall of Fame represents the teams in FIRST, the ones we could all learn a lot from.
As a student who has had to do survey type forms in the past I can vouche for what they can and can’t do. They can provide consistent information to the team in an organized manner. At the same time though, they do not really require the person doing the survey to really have to think about what he is asking.
I would definantly have the kids find stuff they are interested in and have them talk to teams, watch matches, walk around the pits, and observe all aspects of the competition. Maybe your team could do an activity in which you guys find flaws or just things you could improve within your team, have the students observe and take notes of all activites that could affect a certain issue your team is having. After the competition each member could do a persentation to the rest of the team on what they saw and ideas they disscussed or thought of to better the team.
Again, all of the ideas my fellow CD’s have posted are great things to look at or do with a team to research. You just have to find what works with your group of kids.