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Sonya,

Having co-coached the last 2 years, my experience has been that it can  
work well to assign partners within the team.  For instance, we  
usually have 6 members and pair older, more experienced kids with  
younger, less experienced kids when possible but we definitely pay  
attention to temperament as well - then we ask them to pick which  
mission they are going to work on after the team as a whole has spent  
some time brainstorming what they'd like to tackle and after the team  
has experimented with and  decided (tentatively) on a robot design  
that might work.  Within each group of 2 we find a range of abilities  
and interests - some prefer to come up with attachments, some  
gravitate toward programming, some do a little of both together really  
well.  This year each member has gained programming experience but it  
doesn't always work out that way.  We definitely encourage kids to  
teach kids.  Hope that makes sense.  We see our role as facilitators  
and we try to ask as many questions as we answer - this keeps everyone  
actively engaged when circumstances are right (and, if all else fails,  
just break out the snacks and call it a night!).

We also find that certain kids really gravitate towards the research  
project - it is easiest to accommodate their area of interest and let  
them run with it.

For "control of the robot" during performance rounds, our team "tags  
in" each member at least once - two members are at the table all the  
time, with one rotating out and a new member stepping forward as we  
run missions.  There are probably many approaches that work well - our  
goal is for everyone to have a role at the table because they all feel  
valued and more engaged at competition that way.  Also, practice  
during meetings really helps.  We learned all these approaches from  
our team mentor, Ann Kutz, who has coached and mentored several  
successful teams.

Hope this helps!

Kelly Brayton,
co-coach Team Team, Richmond


On Nov 9, 2009, at 7:38 PM, Sonya Shaver wrote:

> Hi fellow coaches,
> I would love to hear how other coaches approach the division of work  
> during the FLL season, and how you decide who does what.  Especially  
> when it comes to managing things like kids having different levels  
> of interest and skill in regards to programming, and also deciding  
> who gets to "control the robot" at the performance rounds.  I'm just  
> owndering how that has played out over the course of the season for  
> different teams.
>
>
> Thanks for any insight,
> Sonya Shaver in Harrisonburg
>
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Frank & Kelly Brayton
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