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Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

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  • Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

    In the Challenge document's Field Setup instructions, it says, "Loosely place these things in Base however you like: ..." with a list of objects.

    I have two questions.

    1.) Can I start the game by placing my Robot completely inside the Base area, and placing those objects on top of the Robot? (Say, the Robot has a small dumptruck-like bin.) Does that qualify as "Loosely placed in Base"?

    2.) If my Robot has a mechanical gripper-claw run by a motor, can I place one of the objects squeezed in the gripper claw, with the Robot (and object) completely inside Base? And start the game that way? Does that qualify as "Loosely placed in Base"?

    Thanks all! This is my first year as an FLL Coach, last year I coached Jr. FLL. Hope this wasn't a dumb question.
    Lead Coach / Robot Coach
    FLL Team 15891, the Robo Sapiens
    San Diego, CA

  • #2
    Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

    Your team does not do field setup. Field setup is done between matches. You will have some prep time at the table before the match starts and at that time you can transfer items from the base onto your robot.

    It is a dumb question. It is far better to ask dumb questions than remain dumb.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

      Thanks, Dean.

      So starting the game with some of those objects on the robot, or gripped in its claw, as long as the robot is completely inside the Base, is legal?
      Lead Coach / Robot Coach
      FLL Team 15891, the Robo Sapiens
      San Diego, CA

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

        "Gripped" will likely be the deciding factor. Read D08 and see if passes that check.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

          Originally posted by dna1990 View Post
          "Gripped" will likely be the deciding factor. Read D08 and see if passes that check.
          Uh-oh, good point. Plastic gripper claws tend to be slippery, I might be able to lift a "person" straight up and it might slip out of the claw, satisfying D08.

          But I've been experimenting with claws with a Lego O-ring tire stretched around them, to make the claw grip better. It might not lift out when I lift it.... FAIL.

          This is a good answer, we'll have to work out a solution here. Thanks!
          Lead Coach / Robot Coach
          FLL Team 15891, the Robo Sapiens
          San Diego, CA

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

            Lotta "I"s in that reply.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

              Originally posted by dna1990 View Post
              Lotta "I"s in that reply.
              Uh-oh, I got caught being non-PC. Gee, I should be ashamed, right?

              I'm practicing a lot with Legos, bricks, and rules, and researching where I can - which includes asking questions here. I can't coach a bunch of 4th graders on how to do it, if I have no clue how myself. So I do it quietly, where they can't see, and then during our meetings I turn them loose and just offer an occasional hint, while trying to foresee problems - hints I wouldn't have if I hadn't done a whole lot of homework ropes beforehand.

              I hope that meets with your approval.

              (This post has four times as many I's as the one you complained about. Still want to discuss the "I" count? Or can we get back to Legos and FLL?)
              Lead Coach / Robot Coach
              FLL Team 15891, the Robo Sapiens
              San Diego, CA

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

                Originally posted by Little-Acorn View Post
                Uh-oh, I got caught being non-PC. Gee, I should be ashamed, right?

                I'm practicing a lot with Legos, bricks, and rules, and researching where I can - which includes asking questions here. I can't coach a bunch of 4th graders on how to do it, if I have no clue how myself. So I do it quietly, where they can't see, and then during our meetings I turn them loose and just offer an occasional hint, while trying to foresee problems - hints I wouldn't have if I hadn't done a whole lot of homework ropes beforehand.
                This isn't an issue of PC, this is an issue of making sure you're doing the right thing.

                I do the same thing every year -- I use the team's robot and solve the missions with my strategy, attachments and code. There's nothing wrong with it, and it is a lot of fun.

                However, you do have to be very aware of how you interact with the team. This is their competition, not yours. Its incredibly easy to (accidentally) lead them to the same solution that you ended up with, and that's something to avoid. The kids have to come up with it themselves and that can be incredibly frustrating to watch ... but it is a big win in the end.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

                  Originally posted by Little-Acorn View Post
                  I can't coach a bunch of 4th graders on how to do it, if I have no clue how myself.
                  You certainly can. There's no requirement for a coach to know anything about programming or the missions for the team to solve them. And in many situations it may be better it you don't have a clue about how to solve a mission. As bdwheele said, it's all to easy to unconsciously guide the team to your solution.

                  Having said that...I do the same thing. I try very hard not to drop hints about possible solutions but I'm sure I've not always been successful. One of the most rewarding things for me as a coach is when my kids solve a mission in a way I didn't think of. Actually, the really rewarding part is when I tell them that & see their reaction.

                  I learned a number of years ago not to worry about where FIRST coaches draw their amount of involvement line. So I'm not trying to put any judgement on what you do or don't do; that's not my intent. I just couldn't pass up commenting on the need for a coach to be able to do any of the kids' tasks. We don't. Some of us (me included) don't want to not know, but it's not a requirement.
                  Kansas City Region Head Ref 2014-present
                  KC Region coaches and teams can ask FLL robot game rules questions at [email protected]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

                    I’d like to second the sentiment that a coach doesn’t need to know how to build or program to be able to coach a team. This is such an important point because a lot of potential teams never form precisely because the prospective coaches think they need a lot of knowledge going in. We’ve run into countless parents who say “I couldn’t start a team, I don’t know anything about programming (or building, or robots, …).” We try to explain that the adults don’t need to know how to do things, the kids will learn how to discover things.

                    Our kids’ rookie year, my then 7-year-old and 10-year-old were lucky enough to be on a new team formed by a college student who is well known in both the LEGO Mindstorms and FIRST communities. He is a master builder who has designed and built incredibly cool Mindstorms creations that have been displayed across the U.S. But as a coach, he might as well have been a complete novice because he intentionally gave the kids ZERO help with building, programming, strategy, and anything else robot-related. I mean zero. He also gave them an amazing gift. Everything they built and programmed, everything mission they successfully completed, was their work and theirs alone, and they knew it, and reveled in it. Did they do extremely well in the robot game that year? The answer is no if your criterion is points. The answer is a big yes if your criteria include learning the value of the creative scientific process: brainstorming solutions, testing, creative thinking, more testing, frustration, perseverance, team work, more perseverance, more frustration, and eventually unbridled joy and a sense of great accomplishment. They ended up winning awards for Gracious Professionalism at both their qualifying and state tournaments that year, and couldn’t have been happier. It’s amazing what kids can do on their own without our help.

                    My wife and I have been coaching the team the last several years, and I still couldn’t tell you how to build a robot. My son could build circles around me at 7, and now that he’s 10, I don’t have a prayer of keeping up. I’m writing this not to pass judgement or tell anyone else how they should do things, but to let parents and prospective coaches out there know that you really can do this, and be successful, without any experience or technical knowledge.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

                      The team needs to learn how to build and program robots, not the coach. The best FLL coaches I know barely know how to start of the programming software. They don't teach, they facilitate learning. It is best if the team learns these skills by themselves and from each other. I think the goal of a FLL coach is to be irrelevant. When I start with a new team I have to answer a few questions each meeting. "How do you run a program on the robot?" "How does the light sensor work?" "Why doesn't the robot turn 90 degrees when I put 90 degrees in for the duration of a move block?" I try to answer questions with questions, or help find the information in the help file, or help design an experiment to find the answer. I direct the team away from asking questions of me and teach (the only teaching I really do) them to depend on each other. By the end of the season I'm hopefully spending all my time sorting LEGO.
                      Last edited by Dean Hystad; 09-06-2015, 01:25 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

                        Originally posted by bdwheele View Post
                        This isn't an issue of PC, this is an issue of making sure you're doing the right thing.
                        Did you type that with a straight face?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

                          Totally agree with someonewhobikes. Simple solution the kids come up with, blow me away. Different team and coaches have different levels of ownership, I feel the judges have a good feel for that. In the end it the core values.
                          Last edited by skasulka; 09-06-2015, 08:05 PM. Reason: grammer
                          Shawn -
                          Team#388 Amazon River Dolphins
                          East Montpelier Vermont.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

                            Originally posted by Little-Acorn View Post
                            Uh-oh, I got caught being non-PC. Gee, I should be ashamed, right?

                            I'm practicing a lot with Legos, bricks, and rules, and researching where I can - which includes asking questions here. I can't coach a bunch of 4th graders on how to do it, if I have no clue how myself. So I do it quietly, where they can't see, and then during our meetings I turn them loose and just offer an occasional hint, while trying to foresee problems - hints I wouldn't have if I hadn't done a whole lot of homework ropes beforehand.

                            I hope that meets with your approval.

                            (This post has four times as many I's as the one you complained about. Still want to discuss the "I" count? Or can we get back to Legos and FLL?)
                            Is it my approval you seek? I am just offering advice and a friendly checkpoint. We have all been there.

                            Yes, there is value in having some preparation and understanding. You want as a coach to feed out plenty of rope, but have a sense when to start tightening the grip or even to halt it. I admire your wanting to know the details and experiment.

                            But it has become my belief that FLL is not about Legos, not about teaching, and not about "I"s. Can it be and be successful? Sure, probably. Every kid and team gets a little something out of it. But when a coach is engaged and caring enough as you seem to be, I know there is great potential for FLL to have another coach take it to the next level. A level where kids are given an environment to discover at their own pace and without a lesson plan. One where failures are just another expected stepping stone on the way to grand discovery. One that leaves you sorting Legos during meetings with nothing to add to the team's interactions.

                            So I threw out a reality check to ensure you thought through what the written word and the subconscious could be indicating. I know I could have used one when I was coaching.


                            Without questions and discussion, all of this falls flat. So ideas and questions are always encouraged. It is was we plan to do with that info back in the team meetings, that we all try to help each other with.
                            Last edited by dna1990; 09-06-2015, 05:39 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Field Setup: "Loosely place these things in Base..."

                              Originally posted by dna1990 View Post
                              I know there is great potential for FLL to have another coach take it to the next level. A level where kids are given an environment to discover at their own pace and without a lesson plan.
                              Ah, if it were only so, that I could just sit back without a lesson plan or itinerary, and they would just get everything accomplished all on their own. But regardless of what many of you say online, computer programming is NOT intuitive and there is no way to discover how to do it without SOMEONE teaching. It may be me, or an online tutorial or video. At this point, I learn along with the kids, because I don't know any more than they do about the technical side of things. But without my planning the schedule, the lessons, the itinerary, the outline, the calendar of events.... Whatever you want to call it, I have to keep them on task. Otherwise they will get absorbed in some singular aspect of the challenge, or will build some unrelated LEGO contraption to play with, or just spend the whole meeting gossiping about events at school that day. FLL is all about getting a whole lot accomplished in a very short time (shorter every year as the launch gets pushed back and the qualifiers get moved up). This is NOT an environment for kids to just discover at their own pace without a schedule or plan.

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