You’ve gotten some great advice so far. All I can add is we started reeeeaaaaal late our first year, but were able to pull it off in the end.  The advantage we had was it was a group of homeschoolers, so we had more freedom to meet together often.


As to team size, we have had the same team for three years now: four boys and two girls.  We found this to be about perfect for a number of reasons:

·         It broke up nicely into three teams of two.  We could divide tasks as well as let each team run the board during the tournament without switching out members.

·         Having a mix of boys and girls gave a good balance of skills and perspectives

·         The teams of two were mixed (boys and girls) as well (well, except for one, obviously), which helped bond them better instead of allowing the “cooties” factor (they were all about 10 years old when we started)


We self-financed with our family buying the robot. The rest of the costs were shared by all the families.


The other dads and I focused the team’s goal the first year on learning what we could and being competitive on just a few of the tasks.  By focusing on a small set of the challenges, they were able to get them rather quickly, then were able to add some more near the end, feeling very confident in the score they would achieve.


While the kids want to focus all of their energy on the robot game, we broke up each meeting of an hour into three twenty-minute segments.  Each of the teams of two could have dedicated time working on the robot and programming their section while the other two teams worked on the research project.  This gave everyone a sense of accomplishment on the game and made sure we had time for research as well.


Most of all, have fun with it.  Like everyone else has said, don’t be hesitant to ask questions here…we’ve all been in your shoes.



From: First Lego League in Virginia and DC [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Matthew Cuba
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2010 8:38 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [VADCFLL-L] New team questions


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


I'm looking to start an FLL at my son's middle school here in Spotsylvania, 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.  Of 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 school lets out for summer. 


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 once a week after school and have sufficient 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 wondering 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.


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.




"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."
--Oliver Wendell Holmes

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