I would like to chime in on this one. When judges ask questions, only the kids can answer. It is very obvious when they don’t really know what or why this or that concerning their robot. They need to understand not only how they built it, but why they decided to use this type of appendage or that type of drive train.

Might I suggest that you help by showing videos and/or explaining how gearing and different drive trains work so that they can make the necessary decisions.


On Sep 15, 2014, at 1:27 PM, Phil Smith III <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Well said, Curt, on many levels! And entirely correct about how judging works.
Coaches in football don’t run plays: they suggest things, but the players have to make it happen. Same with FLL. And the “suggesting” should be just that—not “OK, now put THIS piece in THERE facing THAT way…”.
Phil Smith III
Coach, The Capital Girls (retired)
Team 1900 (2002)
Team 2497 (2003)
Team 2355 (2004)
Team 1945 (2005)
From: First Lego League in Virginia and DC [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Curt Tran
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 1:20 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] Robot Design for Rookies
Hi Frank,
Heather and Fredrik have made some very good points.  If you are looking for a judge’s perspective, the team would be disqualified for awards during either the core value or robotic design session when they mentioned that the coach build the robot (even the base robot).  Heather has pointed out a key rule that "kids do the work".  The judges take it very seriously.
Fredrik has given the best advice in that they should be able to build the basic robot using the instruction that comes with the kit.  If too many kids cannot decide on the base robot (too many cooks in the kitchen), just assign it to one or two of the kids to accomplish this task.  It doesn’t have to be the super robot design to win at the robot games.  It is all about the attachments and the programs to solve the missions.  You can definitely help them to debug the programs, pointing out what wrong with their robot design and attachments.  You can definitely show them how to write the point turn and swing turn programs, and they can put it together themselves on how to accomplish a mission.  You can show them how the robot arms are put together, and how a forklift work by simply using a plastic fork.  Kids are creative and they will fit the pieces of the puzzle together.  We want them to experiments and find out for themselves what work and what not. 
Just take a look at those kids from Scitobor and Kilmer.  It was not until their third year that they made it to State, and even at State they made mistakes of running too many missions that would not fit into the 2.5 minute time window.  It was okay since they have learned a lot from FLL.  Some of the kids in those early FLL days are now in MIT, Harvard, etc.  It’s good for the kids to make mistakes at this early stage, learn from it, and excel.
Please remember “What we discover is more important that what we win.

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