A Rookie Team Main Objectives (Coach post)

We truly enjoyed our first FLL season. The children were wonderful. Reaching the end of the season we wanted to encourage others to start a team. The most important thing is that the kids have to be motivated and to get along well. What we had to learn as coaches was to teach them to stay motivated and friends. The key was to teach them to tackle missions, to design and to analyze failures in an objective way. Otherwise, they tend to choose a leader and let her/him carry all the weight, or to support their best friend ideas.

Let them choose what missions they like, but ask them to develop them using an Engineering Design Process:

  1. Write the constraints that the mission poses on the robot (width, sensors to be used, etc.)
  2. Identify favorable conditions that make the mission easier ( a black line that allows the robot to align precisely, a wall which the robot can follow)
  3. Try to define the mission in terms of what the robot should do to accomplish it
  4. Generate concepts: During this brainstorming phase, all ideas are good ideas, especially the wild ideas. Do not judge the ideas yet. Write them all down.
  5. Analyze the concepts: Determine what each concept would take to complete. List the pros and cons of each concept and determine whether they fit the mission
  6. Select the most promising concept: Each mission is constrained by the pieces needed, the time and the amount of unknown(did you ever designed a similar mission?). The children  have to learn that the most promising solution fulfills all the requirements, works within the constraints and can be expanded to the nearby missions.
  7. Plan the mission and let the children choose where they want to contribute: How does the robot arrive close to the mission? What are milestones of the mission? Let the robot design team start building a  robot prototype but determine how much time they  should spend constructing the first prototype.
  8. Build and test the prototypes: robot+attachments
  9. Evaluate test results: Did it work? How reliable is it? Is the attachment fragile (can be safely carried, packed or dropped?)
  10. Redesign after the mock competition. Even if the time is limited, it is better to encourage them to redesign and  learn each season something thoroughly, instead of doing a lot of  missions imprecisely.

The graphical EV3 programming language is easy.  We learned it next to the kids from the  Free Online Curriculum of Carnegie Mellon. There is also a regular programming  language ROBOTC  designed for older children.


  • Build Field Kit
  • Build Basic Robot with 2 motors
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Go over Missions
  • Go Over Game Rules


  • Identify  1-3 missions to work on
  • Program 1-3 missions


  • Understand Project
  • Brainstorm Ideas
  • Research Problems
  • Research Innovative Solution
  • Plan a Presentation

Team Building

  • games
  • dinner/movie together


Egg Tower:

Divide the group into equal teams, no more than 4 people big. Give each team the exact same amount of newspaper, the exact same amount of tape, and 1 egg.

The object is simple: teams must work together to build a tower that will support the weight of their egg. The team with the tallest tower (that can stand on its own power) is the winner.

NOTE TO LEADER: It’s best to give the team about 4 minutes at the beginning to brainstorm their plan, and then give them about 10 minutes to pull it off.


Human Knots:

Get your group in a tight circle and tell them to grab the hand of two different people NOT standing next to them (each person will be holding the hands of two different people- the circle will look like a tangled mess). They must not let go of either of these peoples’ hands.

Now the task is simple… just untangle without letting go.

Supplies: Cameras and tripods for each group.


Picture Challenge:

Get your group to mimic together a notion. a good choice is an animal, an airplane, a car, etc. Explain them  that each member has to play a part.





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