Two teams, one school - Good idea?

Take a look at team 1988, The Sweetie Pies. They broke off from their school’s team, and it’s a team of three girls. They came to the Wisc. regional with their school, stayed in a hotel with their guys team, but competed as a seperate team.

The judges at Connecticut kept wondering about this trend and each one asked me: “Do you ever see both teams coming back together again?”. They really didn’t understand what is going on in NYC/NJ with the Barry Weinberg grants.

We did this this year with our vex team. It worked well for recruiting more girls, as we went from 3 to about 9. However, make sure that you have the funds to support this team. Add up all the hidden costs of a new team that you may not have thought about in a while, such as new crate, new cart, new shirts, and then double all recurring yearly expenses. Assume on more mentors. Finally, assume on doubling the quantities of tools that are always in use (try building two vex robots with only one allen set :eek: ) If you can pass this test comforitably, and have nothing else like “we should really be saving for a cnc lathe” planned, then go for it.

If you do, i suggest that you keep as many activities outside of construction of the robot as together as possible. Judging by the numbers you have posted, and assuming that there will be a large effort to get more girls to join, I am assuming that the girl team will have less experience. This happened with our team, however, there was an initail effort to “let the girls do it on their own.” However, midway through the build, ideas began flowing between teams, and both the teams were much better off. We would have been even better off if we had held design sessions, etc. together. If the teams are mentoring each other, it both helps both teams, and pays off in the chairman’s submission.

Good luck in your descision.

PS. see this thread on a similar topic when my team was going through the same thing.

Our team [716] this year has about 15 students on it, three of which are girls. We don’t have problems with the guys taking over the build and design of the robot; that could just be the way our members are, but if you politely let people on your team know that they are being pushy, and that the girls can do just as much work as they can, I’m sure that you won’t have any issues.

Having two teams in one school could be difficult due to funding, as others have said. I personally think that having a coed team is much better than a split team when the school itself has both girls and boys. After high school and college, those students that go into science and technology won’t be given a single-sex workplace; I’d say it’s better to get the girls used to having to push back to get themselves involved. I know I’ve had to do that several times, and it’s worked for me.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do~

Starting a new team is hard and requires load of funding, to say the least. Starting an all-girls’ team is even harder.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it (hey, I’m on one) but really, be prepared for challenges. It’s hard to recruit girls (we have about 15 girls on the team this year, most whom are underclassmen), I can’t even begin to tell you how many girls told me that they didn’t want to join because they were too busy, etc.

On the otherhand, at the Connecticut Regional this weekend, a lot of girls came up to us to tell us how lucky we were to be in an all-girls team because they couldn’t/weren’t allowed to work on what they really wanted. A lot of parents also liked the idea and were asking us how the team started.

Yep, and they won the Judges Award on Friday. Way to go girls!

My perspective from the build room, drive team and pits: with 2 teams yields 2 drive teams, twice as much to do during build season, 2 robots to design and build, 2 sets of tools, 2 sets of spare parts, 2 sets of shipping crates, 2 sets of part totes, 2 controllers, 2 scouting teams, and so on and so on, you get the logistics of where this is going…the good from all this is simple…from the high school student population that participates in FIRST robotics there is now twice as many opportunities. That to me is most important because that’s what it’s all about, getting involved and experiencing first hand the rush you get working with students and professionals!!! These are the relationships / memories that last us a lifetime. For those students on very large teams that want a chance to drive the robot, design and fabricate the robot, program the robot and work in the pits…the chance of fulfilling that dream is now much better as there are now twice as many opportunities if you choose the 2 teams in one school approach! We were facing that situation a few years back when we had too many kids on the team, it was a very trying situation indeed to keep each and every student busy with some aspect of team responsibility. We on Teams 70 and 494 have been blessed with great sponsors and lots of parental / mentor support, school support and community support and involvement from all to make this happen!!! I can tell you first hand that this works.

As a girl, I think its really important to learn to work with the boys. The reality is most engineers are men, and if a girl wants to become an engineer, she has got to get used to working with guys. I’d suggest giving the boys a speech about letting the girls work and listening to them, and encouraging the girls. We’ve had a problem on our team with girls not getting involved because they don’t know how to, not because they didn’t want to.
Your team is small enough that you should stay as one team, and just have an extra goal of getting girls involved.