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Thread: Pre-season activities for rookie teams

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Chesterfield, VA
    Posts
    5

    Default Pre-season activities for rookie teams

    So what do you do for two hours each week at your team meeting when everyone (including the coaches) and everything is brand, spanking new? Oh, and you also don't have any equipment to work with. It's just you (coach), 10 eager kiddos, a room full of parents and siblings (waiting for...something), and whatever you can come up with to bring in.

    Team building activities- check.
    Problem solving projects- check.
    What else?

    I'm struggling to keep the kids engaged and feel like I'm a trick pony trying to perform well in front of my audience (parents).
    What do other teams do until the launch, and what if you have to wait on funding for awhile until you can buy the equipment?

    Struggling,
    Sarah

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: Pre-season activities for rookie teams

    Google "Team Building Exercises" and you will find a bunch a great things to do. If you can find videos of the Core Values portion of any FLL tournaments, you can see what exercises they have done at the actual tournaments.

    You also need to come up with a team name. Maybe design a t-shirt, but I had my kids work on that as homework. You can also give lessons on the EV3 and/or general lego construction (gears, motors, whatnot)

    Skip

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: Pre-season activities for rookie teams

    You could review some instructional YouTube videos about EV3 programming, such as the ones by Blue Angel Robotics ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKe...Uq6KS9YrkgNT8g ) and Builderdude35 (a recent FLL "graduate" -- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuX...ANeBcF_Tvq1D7g ). EV3Lessons.com has some excellent guidance on programming too ( http://ev3lessons.com/lessons.html#en-us ).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    269

    Default Re: Pre-season activities for rookie teams

    Summer is a great time for teams to start to meet and get to know each other and FLL.
    1) Take a look at the FLL Twitter Chat for some ideas
    2) If you have your robot, you can start to learn to program. This will save you time during the first few weeks of the season.
    3) Take a look at videos of robot runs at competitions from prior years to understand some of the rules and be inspired - assign about 5-6 videos to look at and have the kids take notes about what they notice about the teams. Then discuss what they see. The kids will start to understand FLL better and get some inspiration for next season. Although the mat, missions and rules change every year, the essence of FLL remains the same.
    4) Although the Challenge release is not till August 25th, you can have the kids start to think about problems related to trash
    5) Core Values activities are always a great way for a community team that has never met to get to know each other. There are many online: camp get-to-know-you games work well.
    Coach for Not the Droids You Are Looking For (Droids Robotics) since 2011
    Judge at Western PA, World Festival, Razorback Open
    Head Referee, Western PA Championships

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Oregon, USA
    Posts
    2,020

    Default

    Just my personal observation, but the only non-team members who should be at your meetings are coaches, assistant coaches, and mentors. Non-coaching parents (and siblings especially) should be invited to come back when the team meeting is over.

    It's great if you can recruit some assistant coaches, so any parents who insist on hanging around should be asked to contribute their energy.

    FLL meetings aren't for spectators - you want the team member to focus.
    Last edited by Tom Mosher; 08-11-2015 at 02:56 PM. Reason: Avoid the apostrophe police.
    FIRST Tech Challenge Judge: 2010, Referee: 2017
    FIRST LEGO League Mentor, Instructor, and/or Referee/Head Referee since 2011
    FIRST Robotics Competition judge (Chairman's Award): 2014
    Dean says I'm an "Oompa Loompa of Science"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    269

    Default Re: Pre-season activities for rookie teams

    Agree with Tom.

    You can invite parents to come 10mins prior to the end of the meeting so that their kids could show off their material. You can also invite parents to come in and listen to the presentations and give feedback closer to a contest. Both of these worked well for us. Sometimes a grandparent visiting town was invited to come and watch. But, in general, FLL meetings are for the kids and coaches.

    Having parents and siblings linger at every meeting proved to be very difficult. The students were distracted and the coaches felt obliged to entertain the adults in the room rather than spending time with the team. :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mosher View Post
    Just my personal observation, but the only non-team members who should be at your meetings are coaches, assistant coaches, and mentors. Non-coaching parents (and siblings especially) should be invited to come back when the team meeting is over.

    It's great if you can recruit some assistant coaches, so any parents who insist on hanging around should be asked to contribute their energy.

    FLL meetings aren't for spectators - you want the team member to focus.
    Coach for Not the Droids You Are Looking For (Droids Robotics) since 2011
    Judge at Western PA, World Festival, Razorback Open
    Head Referee, Western PA Championships

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Posts
    1,273

    Default Re: Pre-season activities for rookie teams

    Social board games to help the kids get to know each other and how to communicate together. I bring in Ultimate Warewolf and Two Rooms and a Boom. They have a lot of fun playing them and they work so much better together after playing.
    Coaching the Flamingos since 2004!
    Team #79 - The Blue Cheesy Flamingos
    https://www.facebook.com/KalamazooFLL
    http://www.KalamazooRobotics.org

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