Advice for former FLL Coach

This is a newbie post, but I didn’t see anything already posted on this question. I have been a coach for a First LEGO League team for the past three years. I will be switching to a school without a robotics team next year. Our district has both FLL and VEX IQ teams. I am wondering whether to pursue launching a new FLL or VEX IQ team at the new school. I saw a post about the hardware differences between the robots, but I am seeking information about the team experience. Let me explain. I believe FLL robotics has been very beneficial for my students. They have fun, learn about coding, explore mechanics, persevere more, and become more interested in pursuing a STEM career. The benefits are fabulous, but there is a downside. In Maryland in FLL, each team can only attend one qualifier. Additionally, our team spent time working on the research project, and core values (team building). Thus, there really wasn’t enough time to be adequately prepared for our single qualifying tournament (held yesterday). Moreover, my team was 4th and 5th graders so they were at a disadvantage compared to teams with older middle schoolers. As you might expect, our team worked hard and learned a lot but didn’t win any awards. I am looking for some insight as to whether VEX IQ might have the same benefits but reduced disadvantages. Any feedback would be appreciated.

I don’t know how FLL events work, but in VEX it’s super easy to hold an event. All you need is a field and a cafeteria and some parents to help run the event. We are running 4 this year like that. You don’t need to have all of the super fancy stuff (indoor fireworks, marching band, etc) the roboteers will have just as much fun. A quick look shows 11 events, and the State Championship in Maryland, so you should be able to play more that once.

Work with schools in your area to get more Elementary Schools to start teams. This year I’ve help start 35 VIQ teams in Northern Delaware, all of them elementary teams. The low cost of VIQ kits makes it affordable to start teams. The field can be reused from year to year. Most of the field parts can be used as robot components.

We don’t do the STEM project there is enough to do in getting robots working and programming with meeting about an hour a week. That makes it easier to do multiple teams at the same location. Once you get roboteers that have build experience then start up with the STEM project.

Good luck!

VEX IQ is very easy if you compare to FLL. I am have been coach for FLL and VEX IQ and i used to be coach for FTC. I can say that VEX IQ is easy and the best for middle school and elementary for me. FLL is good.But, Teams should prepare a lot of things for CORE VALUES, PROJECT, ROBOT DESIGN. Team should spend a lot of times for only one tournament. If you fail, there is no another tournament You need to wait next year. That’s why I don’t like FLL.

In VEX, we can participate in many tournaments. Students can drive the robots up to 6 times in each tournament. We can register more teams for each tournaments. Students can build 2-3 robots in short time. They can use the best robot for competition.