If you use the Socratic method, you can get the kids to arrive at
conclusions on their own, because you're never telling or "suggesting"
anything, they may even surprise you with their ideas when you don't
suggest things to them. I am always happy when they mention ideas that I
would never have thought of and I have to remember how great it is I never
shared or suggested any ideas, because they would have been far less likely
to come to these new fabulous ideas if I had interfered. Case in point-

> -can adults suggest resources to look up for the project, suggest people
> to interview,
Ask, a bunch of questions about resources- ask where we find resources? Can
you think of a place online that could be helpful? How would we find that?
What do you think the key word search for that resource (you just named)
would be? Who can tell about this? Where could be find the information
about who would know?

> possibly make a preliminary phone call to introduce the team to potential
> interviewees, etc.?
This I do think is ok, because adults, especially professionals, don't have
a lot of time, and they are answering your questions out of kindness of
their hearts. I would have the kids think of questions and present them to
the professionals through a phone call or email with my name on the bottom.
Letting them know in the email that kids had constructed the questions.
Once initial contact is made, in person questions and interviews should be
directed by the kids, but be kind to them and prep the kids by making sure
everyone has a question and they understand who they are talking to. Don't
ask the bug professor about the architectural structure of farm houses.
(stuff like that.)

> -can adults do things that aren't directly related to the STEM content,
> such as design a logo if the kids have no clue or come up with something
> that's impossible to silk screen?
The logo is a team building exercise for my team, but it's not directly
judged by the competition at any level, so I don't know what rule you be
violating by designing it for the team.  Our designs are also self silk
screened. I tell the kids to draw the design with a thick marker.  If you
can draw it in a thick marker, you can silk screen it.  In one or two
different groups I've worked with, I had the kids create a design they
liked, and I drew/translated the design into the silk screen myself. The
kids pulled the colors themselves and everyone felt like they learned how
to silk screen :)
I've had super good luck getting die-cast lettering to do our name in. The
letters are usual the hardest part.

> Help them with coming up with a cheer?
Seems legit to help them learn some cool cheers.

> Also, I'm curious as to how experienced teams have balanced the needs of
> kids with different levels of experience. I have kids with tons of
> Mindstorms experience and some with none. It was suggested on the first
> coach call that the kids spend time going through the tutorials to bring
> everyone up to speed, but I'm worried that'll turn off the more experienced
> kids.
> Once the kids select a preliminary robot design, would it make sense to
> assign some of the more experienced kids the programming for one of the
> harder missions and have the beginners try their hand at an easy one while
> they learn programming and hope to connect the two modules later?
> I think this may be different in every team.  In my team (and I am only
speaking for my team of 5-7 kids) we make a lot of decisions in a group-
like what missions runs will look like, how we can combine them and what
attachments can be used. The kids do work on different levels- the kids
with less experience tend to do the closer, less complicated missions by
choice.  The kids that want to plan and implement more complex missions
with attachments and senors take on those missions will do that. I don't
assign the kids to missions, they work that out. I am always around making
sure the process moves forward, goals are achieved and everyone's attitude
is in check and respectful.
So to answer your question pointedly- they will most likely self separate
into the levels of programming they have. If a member without experience
wants to use a new tool, I will teach them how to use it, or ask them to
partner with a more experienced programmer who asked to be on that
mission.  The voting for the missions happens organically. Kids say "I want
to work on that", & they pick or ask a person to help them.
Use the sheet for programming plan outline on the techbrick site. It's uber
    My team does two team building exercises a meeting. I think this really
helps builds comradery and cooperation among the members.

Would it be a good idea to let the more experienced kids actually build the
robot and have the rookies initially observe and document so they get a
feel for how the pieces go together?
Is this too much direction?
I find the robot design to be the most complicated thing for new members.
The kids work together initially to create a list of desired properties-
wide or skinny, 3rd motor to the side, middle or in back? what kind of back
wheel do we need- tri-wheel, slider, ball joint? Again, we go over
questions, look at the missions, and they decide together what the robot
needs to look like. On my team, the two designers, and they are the kids
who say, "I have an idea of how to do that!" create the robot design based
on the listed properties given by the group.  They go back to the team, and
team gives their opinion on what they like and what they would like to see
changed.  But in my group, the whole team doesn't physically design the
robot, but they all contribute to it's creation.
Hope this helps, these are good questions,

> Thank you and sorry for the long message,
> Haydee
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