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Building Mission Elements

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  • Building Mission Elements

    I have been coaching FLL for two years and I have a very small FLL team, usually about 4 team members. While I definitely want to grow the team, one issue that we are running into right now is just how long it takes to build all of the mission elements with only a few team members. It feels like having the kids spend so much time building the elements isn't a good use of their time but it also doesn't feel great to have adults doing the building. How would you all handle this? Is it appropriate for adults to help with the building so that the students can get to designing and building their robot and working on their project (which is where I feel like the real learning happens!) faster?

  • #2
    When I coached, we had a special pre-season team meeting where we built the mission models. I think it was a fun team-building exercise, and I think the kids enjoyed it. As a coach, I don't recall getting to build much more than a couple mini-figs. This was back in the old days when the mission models often shipped in advance of the challenge release.

    I've known teams that had a late start to their season and adults built the models to speed things up. It certainly is not against the rules, but I would avoid it if possible. Let the kids have their fun.


    • #3
      For my team (7 to 8 members) we have a marathon meeting (2 to 3 hours) the afternoon of or day after the announcement. I print out all the instructions to build the models before the meeting. We start the meeting with the announcement videos then assign each member a mission to build depending on their abilities. After they build their mission they can build another either alone or with a partner if there are any left. Sometimes I will build a mission if it is complex to make sure it is correct. I have considered giving mission parts and instructions in a zip lock bag to reliable team members to do at home if we did not finish, but have not had to do this yet. (BTW my team is composed of home schooled kids so the parents are usually very aware of what is happening and would make sure if parts did go home they would return as a completed mission model. Also as home schoolers they have more flexibility with attending a long meeting.) While the kids are building, my wife and co-coach discusses scheduling and other issues with the parents. After all mission models are built, as a team we dual-lock them in place and do an initial plan of what missions are priorities and easiest for us to do. After the meeting I check all the models to be sure they are made correctly. The kids are usually so enthusiastic to build and dual-lock that the long meeting does not create behavioral problems or boredom. For team members who finish early we start discussing project ideas.