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Challenge Reveal - Aug 1...

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  • Challenge Reveal - Aug 1...

    I just found out that the challenge reveal for this year is being moved up to August 1st. I am unhappy about this (and have let FIRST know), but I want to make sure others know about it.

    Document is here:

    Confirmed through our partner.

    If you are unhappy with this, please let FIRST know ( )


    Alan Smith
    Coach FLL #447, Knights On Narwhals

  • #2
    Is your displeasure because you are a school-based team and school is not yet in session? Therefore non-school teams in your region may have a head start....?


    • #3
      An earlier release isn't much of an issue to me. It becomes a problem if operating partners decide to move up their tournaments because of the early release. That puts a big crunch on school teams or community based teams like I've been working with lately. We form new teams after school starts and they usually don't have kits until the challenge reveal. After their rookie season I encourage the coaches I work with to take care of their own registration so they don't have to wait until after school starts. I informed them of the release date change when it was first mentioned here more than a month ago.

      I see no reason why partners would change their schedule because of an earlier release date. Our FLL tournament schedule depends very little on FIRST and FLL and very much on school schedules and school building availability and not colliding with FTC and FRC. Changing the date of the World Festival would be more concerning. That pushes up the FRC season, which puts pressure on pushing up the FTC season which puts pressure on pushing up the FLL season. It all comes down to resources; buildings and volunteers.
      Last edited by Dean Hystad; 03-13-2018, 06:07 PM.


      • #4
        I do not have a school based team, but help a number of them. My displeasure is for a few reasons that have to do with the change (below), but also for the lack of notice. (I know I'll be on a planned vacation over the reveal date)

        (copying from the e-mail I sent to FIRST for concerns I have with the earlier date.)

        - Many families take vacation during the month of August while school is out. It is critical for the team to all be together during the first part of the season when strategy is being decided. This will weaken the FLL program.

        - There are already school teams that cannot start until the school year begins. Moving the start date earlier further disadvantages those teams.

        - I start my teams in July and meet 1x per week until the reveal comes out. This relaxed meeting lets us teach skills without concern of undue coach influence since I don't know what the challenge is.

        - In 2015, the mission build instructions and challenge were released at the same time. At that time, I sent why I was disappointed with that change
        1) It gets rid of some of the build up of excitement to the challenge reveal. (Delaying the challenge reveal is not really an option in these days of wide computer access.)
        2) If pieces are missing in the field kit (which has happened to us more than half the years in at least one field kit), it gives us a chance to get replacements from LEGO before the season begins.
        3) It allows us to have the mission models together for the challenge reveal so those students that are kinesthetic learners can handle them.

        I was glad to see FIRST listen to a coach and change back for 2016 and 2017 when the mission build instructions came out first. I am saddened to see them reverting to being the same date.

        - Typically we hold workshops to new FLL teams (or people considering coaching) in August. Doing this before the reveal comes out allows us to teach skills where the students decide which skills to use in the season without being concerned about them feeling like the workshop way is the only way.


        • #5
          I find myself not caring much about an earlier challenge release. For my circumstances the pros and cons are a wash and I don't find alan412's arguments persuasive. Anyone else really against the earlier date? I'd like to hear your reasons why. FLL must have reasons for changing the date. If you like the earlier date I'd like to hear your reasons behind that too. The only reason I can think of for FLL changing the release date is to change the entire calendar and move tournaments out of the busy December holiday season. I really hope that doesn't happen.
          Last edited by Dean Hystad; 03-14-2018, 06:35 PM.


          • #6
            I can't think of any big reasons to move up the challenge release to coincide with the release of the building instructions, outside of simplifying the FLL calendar. It will give some teams more time to work on the project and robot game, assuming there is no correspondent change in the tournament dates. As alan412 noted, the earlier release won't help many school-based teams. Here in Minnesota, most of our public schools don't start until after Labor day in early September. When I was coaching, I would try to get the team together to build the mission models before the challenge release when feasible, but that was the extent of activities before school started.

            My biggest complaint about moving up the challenge release date is that there will be a dozen "How to score 500 points" videos on youtube weeks before many teams even meet for the first time.
            Last edited by timdavid; 03-14-2018, 08:08 PM.


            • #7
              Just wanted to make a note as far as "reasoning" that in the official announcement to Partners, they acknowledged that "No matter the time of year the Challenge is officially released, teams will always have differing amounts of time to form and prepare for events, just as it is today with our current Challenge release date. We made this change because an earlier Challenge release offers other benefits to our global team community." My understanding is that the biggest reason for the change was to support global teams, especially the calendar of the southern hemisphere. I know for sure that FIRST is open to hearing and happy to receive your feedback on the change and you can write to


              • #8
                Originally posted by timdavid View Post
                My biggest complaint about moving up the challenge release date is that there will be a dozen "How to score 500 points" videos on youtube weeks before many teams even meet for the first time.
                I like that teams will have more time overall, but I agree with this completely. The number of robot game videos has increased dramatically in the last 3-4 years. This year, there were adults, non-participating teenagers, and even FRC teams (Robot in 3 days) creating FLL videos early in the season. Too many teams see the online videos as "FLL Core Value of Sharing" and feel pressure to share their robot early according to my conversations with other volunteers. They don't realize the negative impact.

                August 1 will result in more such videos and also videos from teams who are all done...before most of the school teams even get to start.

                My team has officially retired. None of this will impact me or my team directly, but as FLL judge and volunteer, I am concerned about the trends I am seeing.
                Mentor: Not the Droids You Are Looking For - retired (World Festival Champion's 2018)
                Judge: Western PA, World Festival, Razorback Open, Mountain State
                Head Referee: Western PA Championships


                • #9
                  I coach a school team and school starts around August 15 each year. Right now we are doing off season training as I am teaching 3rd graders how to use sensors, make my blocks, etc. I'll know who is going to be on the team next year by May. Then I'm going to try to schedule a robotics "camp" for the week of July 30 - 2 days of building the new robots for the new season, 1 day of building the models (Aug. 1), and 2 days of planning for the season. Then we'll start when school starts back up meeting twice a week after school. I'm trying to look at this as an opportunity rather than a setback. When life gives you lemons...


                  • #10
                    There has been a trend toward more and more copying in FLL, but in general I haven't seen a big negative impact. There are a few teams that are designing by YouTube, but there are so many team now that they are still the minority, If feel sorry for teams that miss out on a chance for discovering their own solutions, but in general I think FLL is about as healthy as it has ever been.


                    • #11
                      I like the early start date. In the sprit that FLL is not all about the robot game, the extra time allow my team to focus August mainly on the project (schedule field trips, visit experts in the field, build/test prototypes) before the school year starts. Usually many experts, especially at Universities, get really busy after September. This extra time allows us to make a more deliberative approach to research of the problem and brainstorming of the solution.