Tom brings up a question on the trade-off of two dedicated kids at the table versus having the kids switch off. This is a topic I have passionate opinions and would like to bring up to the VA/DC FLL community. There are a number of dimensions. I'd like to preface by saying that the Lake Anne Sea Monsters is a large team of 8 to 10 kids for the last 5 years. At every round at every tournament every Sea Monster has handled the robot. A very large component of our success has been their teamwork. To make it work requires that:
- The robot's missions be designed so that they are easy to set up and transition to the next.
- A full practice to choreograph each kid's role and transition to/from the table.
- Teaching that gracious professionalism begins within the team, and being only supportive when a given part doesn't execute as planned.
So a number of points:
1. Which is more competitive? Short-term having two kids at the table minimizes the preparation. However, as the tournament progresses, having each kid concentrate on one aspect increases the probability that each part is executed flawlessly.
2. Which is more fun? Hands down the whole team. Each kid feels a real sense of accomplishment and contribution, particularly with their parents watching. An added benefit is the huge boost in parent support.
3. Which better imbues the FLL philosophy? Clearly full team participation.
Personally, I think teams that put all members on the table should be rewarded in teamwork scoring. I'd love to see the teamwork evaluation form include a space that asks what percentage of the team participates at the table and a bonus be given based on the percentage.
As a parting observation: With the current scoring, a large team that only has two at the table can potentially win the teamwork award if the teamwork exercise is performed well. Is this really consistent FLL's core values, which begin with "We are a team."?
My question is what is the best way for our team to hold attachments during a match. What has worked well for others? Also, any opinion on two kids running a match vs specific mission specialists tagging in and out? Thanks
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From: "Eric Palmer"
Date: Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:42 pm
Subject: [VADCFLL-L] NXT merry go round effect
My team this year had a robot with a particular mission and attachment set
that had a "veer left bias" They changed the whole robot to our backup and
it "veered very slightly right" on further inspection the first robot has an
axle going through a beam that has been damaged so there was more friction
on the left side.
For the right bias they moved a counter weight to the left and the robot
goes straight most of the time. But even with that it varies, sometimes
We are using disposable batteries this year and they monitor voltage
closely. The front missions they use fully or nearly fully changed
batteries and the last mission they use batteries whose top voltage has been
They use a slight moist cloth to wipe the dust off the table before practice
and we occasionally wipe the dust off the wheels and let the tires dry.
They store the robot upside down so the wheels don't get flat spots.
The team pays attention to many more factors for repeatability as well.
But that said we still have problems with erratic behavior. Turing for
example seems to work best (for repeatability) one wheel at a time. That
slows down the missions but makes the missions more repeatable.
All learning opportunities.
On Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 1:24 PM, Nagesh Chintada
> This is hard to figure out without seeing it, but couple of questions come
> to mind:
> 1. Has your team tried to reduce the power, to say, 50 or below?
> 2. How is the robot balance and center of gravity? For example, does it
> happen if the attachments are removed?
> 3. I noticed that sometimes loose wheels can cause strangest behaviors in
> movement, so not a bad idea to check if the any part of the attachments/
> frame and wheels are not loose.
> Just a comment: The great fun of FLL is ruined especially to rookie teams
> because of all the variability in the NXT Robots. These are no doubt complex
> products, and it is not easy to get consistent behavior. It requires some
> experience and lots of practice. This is not my first year, but I am still
> I wish Lego or FLL would make it easier for all the teams - and improve the
> fun factor - by providing some basic information/ instructions/ best
> practices to reduce variability as part of the NXT kit or FLL kit. Just a
> thought. I'd like to see more teams having more fun than struggle so much..