Thank you all for coming to Chico with your student and their teams. It was a big learning experience for everyone. I hope each team is looking forward to improving their design this season. This week I plan to help them analyze their performance using quantitative data from the tournament. I have stressed to the students that the biggest skill they will hone this year is the understanding of the design and engineering process and implementing a methodology when improving their robot design, driving strategy and programs.
This leads to a coach request for all of you, the parents: Please allow your child learn this process. Sometimes it is slow, they may not see a design flaw as quickly as we adults do. VEX designs these challenges to be solved by students. I am sure that given a Saturday and a kit you could make a competitive design for the game, but that is not in the spirit of VEX Challenges nor Falkon Academy. We are trying to teach the students to problem solve as a team. This takes time and patience. This sometimes will lead to a short term failure, but they will learn faster this way. If an arm falls off because of poor connections, ask, /teach: Are you using a strong enough connection? Does this look balanced? Cranes in real life use parallel bars for extra strength and support, is this something you can emulate in VEX? DO NOT touch the team’s robot or parts to fix it for them. You rob the team of a learning opportunity for a short-term result. Additionally, students need to learn to facilitate a team discussion with 3-4 peers, adding parent voices and thoughts does not help them learn the leadership and communication skills needed in a peer environment. At home practices or competitions, please have one parent model the coaches role as mentor/facilitator of discussions as needed, but remember to take a back seat in the design and problem solving aspect of team discussions. Encourage kids to research solutions, don’t feed it to them.
It is important for students to learn as much as they can this rookie season so they can compete at higher levels in years to come. We teach for long term success and independence. Please help them by letting them fail and problem solve as a team. They will be better builders, programmers and critical thinkers by the end of our competition season.
On another note, you are at risk of tournament violations by helping them at the pits. Please refer to the game manual pages attached for more information.
I am also available to discuss more how you can help your child be successful this season without violating the REC Foundation’s student-centered policy. Please find me after practice.
Thank you all so much for your support and enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to a great season of learning and improvement.
PS – if you have any questions on the game, tournament scoring etc. It can all be found here for VEX IQ:
Below are some of screen shots from the game manual that are of interest.