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May 2010


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First Lego League in Virginia and DC <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 6 May 2010 11:33:48 -0400
Rusty West <[log in to unmask]>
Rusty West <[log in to unmask]>
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Our school has had an all girls team for about 6 years.  It has been great
for getting more girls involved as when we had mixed teams a lot of girls
were timid about coming to tryouts.  Now we get about 15-20 girls trying out
for 6 spots on the team.  There used to be a girls team "Capitol Girls" and
they were amazing and very successful. I am not sure if their coach still
monitors the listserv.   Our girls team has been to state more than our boys
team.  Our experience is that the girls enjoy the research project and
teamwork exercises and the boys are more about building and programming the
robot.   We get the teams to critique each other and that is very helpful.


Rusty West

Gloucester, VA



From: First Lego League in Virginia and DC
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Lloyd O'Hara
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2010 9:47 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] New team questions


I am in the process of trying to form an all girls, neighborhood team so my
daughter can get involved.  I helped coach my son's teams in years gone by
but I have not coached a team for a couple years now.

From what I can remember, I would have to agree completely with what Robert
said, especially about the team size.  The younger the team members the
harder it is for them to focus and for you, as the coach, to keep meetings
under control and its a lot easier trying to maintain order with fewer team
members.  I will also say, from my limited experience, smaller teams are
actually easier to coach for any of the age levels.  Once you get towards
ten team members, it is easier for things to get out of hand.

My ultimate hope for the team will be for them to have fun while learning
something they can build on next year, if the choose to participate again,
or use somewhere else in their school careers. 

Of course, all of this hinges on getting a team together.  I've registered
and paid the dollars, including a new Mindstorms kit.  I now have an extra
incentive to get a team going.


Prospective coach

May 6, 2010 08:07:02 AM, [log in to unmask] wrote:

See my answers below you questions.

On Thu, May 6, 2010 at 8:37 AM, Matthew Cuba wrote:

> Well, hopefully this is the place to ask these questions.  I'm sure
> will chime in if it isn't.

It sure is!!

> I'm looking to start an FLL at my son's middle school here in
> VA.  I'm in the very beginning stages of this right now - talking with the
> school's Principal and doing a lot of reading. All of this is new to me.
> course, funding will be a BIG challenge.  Realistically, we probably won't
> get going until the beginning of the school year (late August) though I
> might be able to get an informational meeting put together before the
> lets out for summer.

If you are building a team from scratch, the sooner you get started, the

> What is a reasonable timeline for a new team and a new coach?  Can I
> realistically assemble the team when school starts in the Fall and meet
> a week after school and have sufficient time?

I would focus on how you are going to get your team members together,
and start your informational meetings now before school ends. Get the
word out. Then in August, you can focus on getting commitments from
members. A lot of it depends on your goals. If you are interested in
results, you really can't be building a team in September, even early
September. If you are, you pretty much have run out of time.

> I'm hoping to come up with funding for at least two robots.  Should this
> drive the number of team members?  Should I limit the team size to < 10 in
> this case?  I'd hate to turn anyone away who is interested but I'm
> if logistically too many kids and not enough robots will be a problem.  It
> would seem that 5 kids to 1 robot would be too high, but I don't know that
> for a fact.

Certainly, the more robots you have the better, but unless you have a
good source of easy to obtain money (ie, grants or parents willing to
pony up lots of cash) you probably should set your goal as one robot.
Fielding a startup team is expensive, with the table, robot and
registration costs (among other costs). With a young team, all of the
kids want to work on the robot. With an older team, the kids will
figure out what they like better and will often group themselves into
project and robot sub specialties.

Regarding age, if you are a fielding a young team, I would either get
lots of help from parents OR limit the number of kids on the team to 5
or less. Young kids can be very difficult to manage given the
compressed nature of the program. Again, some of this is dependent
upon your goals. When I coach, I want the kids to learn something
*and* actually show some results. Some coaches don't worry about
results. To me, if the team time is just "messing around", then they
don't need me as a coach -- they can just mess around at someones
house and leave the (FL)Lego stuff out of it.

> Are there any clinics or meetings that would be useful for a new coach to
> attend within 50 miles of Fredericksburg, VA?  I see there is an expo in
> D.C. in May.  Looks interesting.  Do I have to have registered as a team
> prior to attending?   Not sure we'll have funding worked out by then.

Someone else will have to answer this, but I can tell you that the
VADCFLL is very good about having new coach clinics around the DC/VA
area. I'm not 100% sure about the timing of them, but I would strongly
suggest attending a clinic to get good understanding of what you are
getting yourself into.

Good luck!!

Haskins Family Farm
Middletown, VA
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