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October 2012

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Subject:
From:
Vinayak Arumugam <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vinayak Arumugam <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Sun, 14 Oct 2012 20:40:53 -0400
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Jeff,

I am rookie coach with a rookie co-coach and rookie team! We were pretty much on the same boat as of last week. We coaches are programmers too but it does not really matter when it comes to robot programming. Kids, all 6th graders, are able figure out on their own. Just, came off the meeting and can say we just managed to get 80% done today on our first mission. We still have to make a lot of progress in the next weeks. Yet we don't want to think twice on attending the tournament. I am sure your team can find a way to speed up things and catch up. So, go for it. 

Few things to share from our experience:

1. Though rookies, we formed the team with the tournament in the mind, so we registered first. 
2. Kids are able to figure out the programming stuff themselves.  
3. Kids were able build the first robot by following instructions then improvised from there. 
4. We have set low expectation of doing 3 or 4 missions right. Anything else is bonus. 
5. Kids were able to come up with cool ideas for the project. This is equally interesting to them. 
6. As we were falling behind with a 2-hour Sunday only meeting, added a 1.5 hr Fri eve meeting. 
7. As of this week, we made our Sunday meeting 4 hours long. This helped a lot today. 
8. We encourage the interested kids to work on the robots themselves on ad-hoc basis.
9. We give assignments on the projects during the week to get more done offline.
10. We plan to go for the tournament on Nov 3rd, so we go with what we can do in next 2 weeks. 

To summarize, kids do believe they can find real solutions to real problems and not just competing in a tournament. And they really are. They are able to connect with the problems faced by seniors through their own experiences. So, I would personally encourage our team to continue working on their solutions for the project even after the tournament as long as they can, so it is not all about tournament in our case.

But by going to the tournament, we hope kids will have fun, learn from others, see where they stand, and be prepared for next year. 

Hope it helps!

Best Regards,
Vinayak, coach Lego Gurus

On Oct 14, 2012, at 6:40 PM, "Leah Stone" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Jeff - 
> 
> You won't be alone! We are going with the hopes of LEARNING and having FUN too!
> 
> 
> Leah Stone
> New Coach, Team 7226 - Creeping Creepers
> 
> 
> On Oct 14, 2012, at 6:35 PM, Phil Smith III wrote:
> 
>> A final word: worst case, they come to a tournament, have fun, do badly—and have a much better idea of how to approach things next year!
>>  
>> From: First Lego League in Virginia and DC [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jeff Lavezzo
>> Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2012 6:17 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: [VADCFLL-L] Fish or cut bait?
>>  
>> Hi Folks,
>> I'm looking for some advice about my team.  
>>  
>> Through a variety of circumstances, our team finds itself very behind schedule.  We have yet to assemble a robot and only have one person on the team with experience programming the bot, (though the two coaches are both professional programers).
>>  
>> I'm in the middle of finally signing up for tournaments and recognizing that the best case scenario is that we get one more month, worst only a few weeks. I can't seem to get the kids together for more than about 90 min a week. Everyone has something at some other time. Ideally, we'd add a couple 3 hour weekend meetings to get us back on some semblance of a track, but I think I could only get about 3 team members for that.
>>  
>> Here's the question: Should we even sign up for the tournament?
>>  
>> I have my own ideas about our options, but I'd like to hear advice from those with more experience than me (I have no experience with FLL, haven't even been to a tournament). Especially advice from someone who's been in this position before: inexperienced coach, inexperienced team, hardly any time left.
>>  
>> Thanks
>>  
>> Jeff
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