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December 2008

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From:
KevinHines <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
KevinHines <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Sat, 13 Dec 2008 14:52:09 -0500
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Steve,

Thanks!  Your post is probably the best explanation I've read about why it's
beneficial for the children, for FLL to include these specific non-technical
components, such as the research, presentation, communication, and teamwork
components.

I appreciate you sharing your thoughtful insights on this topic!

Thanks,
Kevin

Kevin Hines
FLL Coach for 4 seasons
[log in to unmask]
www.RoanokeRobotics.org



-----Original Message-----
From: First Lego League Discussion
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Steve Scherr
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2008 9:09 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [VADCFLL-L] Robotics, Engineering, and FLL


I'd like to throw in my two cents on the different components of the FLL
Challenge.

I became aware of FLL when my son was on a school team one year.  I remember
when he tried to
describe what was being done with their project, I asked myself the question
"What does that have
to do with robotics?"

As I have volunteered over the years, I've learned more about FIRST and come
to have a real
appreciation for the design of FLL and the balance among the different
components.

Since it's "not only about the robot", FLL
 - can attract kids who might be intimidated by the hard-core engineering
and give them an area
to contribute, and learn to appreciate the quantitative and hard-core stuff
 - expose team members to a science or technology topic and encourage them
to learn about it,
think about it, and talk to experts
 - include a competition element and awards to add excitement, encourage,
recognize, and give
incentive to kids
 - encourage skills that are useful in the real world (also done in FRC)

During my career in science and technology, I've seen that technical
excellence on its own is
almost never the only criterion for success or implementation of a concept.
Communicating the
value of a concept, researching previous or related work, developing
support, marketing,
obtaining funding--these are all necessary for success.  Although I may not
be able to do all of
these well (I don't!), as part of a team, and appreciating the need for all
skills, we can succeed.
The same is true in FLL, and, as judges, we hope to see the kids learning to
value and to respect
the components of the Challenge that may not initially appeal to them.

So, is the project robotics?  Rarely.  Does it emphasize skills that are
useful in engineering?
Definitely.  Does it need to find a balance between presenting content and
holding the listeners
interest?  I think so.

I think that coaches have the hardest job--coaching kids without directing
them, encouraging in
a variety of areas where they may not be comfortable or experienced, and
working for multiple
months with kids who are still learning how to be aware of timelines and
deadlines.  As a
tournament volunteer, I can concentrate on one or two areas, but coaches
have to be a jack-of-
all-trades, and it's certain to be a learning experience for them, too, and
probably takes them out
of their comfort zones.

Steve

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