Age in VEX?

Hi all, I’m back with another IN VEX post!

They always say age is just a number. (Irrelevant to the post?)

So, how about in the robotics community? Does age matter? Yea? Or nay?

  1. How old were YOU when you started VEX?
  2. How old are you currently? (Asking because some grade levels can be different with age whether it be skipping grades, having a different country’s school system, etc.)
  3. How long have you been a part of VEX?
  4. How long have you been a part of any robotics in general? (VEX, FTC, FRC, Mindstorm, etc…)

Does age mean superiority in knowledge?
Ex. A senior in high school catches on faster than a freshman?
Ex. 2 Does older age mean more maturity which leads back to Ex. 1? (Thanks Cyber brains :slight_smile: )

Or does age mean more experience in VEX?
Ex. A middle schooler starting VEX will have more experience by their senior year compared to a senior who started in their freshman year? OR leading back to the first question, they will catch on faster as a freshman so they will have more experience/knowledge?

Share your opinion below! Age in VEX? Y/N?

I don’t think age is really relevant. On the other hand, the level of education does make some difference, because a freshman at most schools will not have a working knowledge of physics, which helps with designing, or calculus, which sometimes helps with programming. I would say start as young as possible, since experience does tend to lend itself to more developed skill sets.
I am a sophomore in high school, and this is my second year of Vex, or any competitive robotics. I would have started robotics earlier, but my elementary and middle schools did not offer robotics. I had dabbled a little bit when I was younger in Mindstorms, which helped a lot for me, I think. I am now my team’s secondary programmer, set to replace our current head programmer when he graduates this year.

Overall, it comes down to dedication more than age or knowledge. I am of the opinion that anyone can learn any concept, given resources, time, and dedication. The Internet has those resources, so a freshman (or anyone else) can learn those physics and math concepts that help with robotics. As an example, over winter break I taught myself about integrals and derivatives. I still have a lot to learn, but I now understand the concepts, so that’s really helpful.

I am a junior that has been in vrc since freshman year, I originally wanted to be on hardware but now I only want to do software (but I am still stuck doing hardware). Anyhow as captain of the developmental team that has 7th graders-10th graders (besides me), I can see that age does play a role in how good a person is but the largest factor is effort and experience.

I’d also add maturity. The older ones seem to be better on average because they often have better work ethic and flexibility to team members.

There’s a friend of ours in the state who just turned 14 and has a great robot. He is homeschooled and helped his brother when they only had one robot, but then they split up into two teams. He is younger than most all of his competitors but better than most, so that is an argument against the importance of age.

Actually, he’s probably reading this right now. Hi.

At competitions, we’ve seen either very experienced high school teams with a majority of seniors and juniors or less experienced teams with middle schoolers. Not a lot in between. Does this ring true with many other teams?

Yeah on my team and my sister teams there is only a couple freshman and sophomore but a lot of junior high and upperclassmen.

Have you thought of making a surveymonkey survey out of this? Would be really cool to see, and much easier for you to tabulate.

I am part of an all freshman team and we have been at the top of all the qualifiers we have been to against older teams. Also I saw a middle school team rank 4th in qualifying and go to the finals. I do not think age is a major factor.

I have been involved in VEX for something like 7 years,(12-19) and did MINDSTORMS for a year prior to that. I recently spent a day teaching 2 7 year olds ROBOTC graphical and it wasn’t even that difficult. The only thing was there were key concepts they didn’t know, multiplication being the main one.

Seeing as how the robot skills world champion last year was a freshman I don’t believe that age is really ever an important factor in VEX past a certain point.

Hey, @Team80_Giraffes , thanks for the idea!

I’ve made a survey!

I wasn’t sure how to ask experience, knowledge, statistics in VEX, etc., so currently it’s just a poll to find ages in VEX. :smiley:
Let me know if there are any questions I’m missing!

(I know asking for start and current age and then asking for years of VEX is repetitive, but it’ll make data collection easier?)

We have a sophomore (me) and and two juniors. We’re kind of in the middle.

I filled out the survey but have some general thoughts, so I’ll chime in here too. I’m 17, a senior in high school, and been involved in VRC for two or three years, depending on how you count (We had kind of a false start in Toss Up, then got going for real in Skyrise). Before VRC, I spent a lot of time with MINDSTORMS robots, including 6 years in FIRST Lego League. I still spend some time with MINDSTORMS robots, though not competitively.

VRC and FLL are pretty different from a technical standpoint: FLL robots interact with lots of different types of objects each year, with more of a focus on interchangeable mechanisms, whereas in VRC there are fewer different types of things to do, and robots often specialize. The elephant in the room, of course, is that FLL is all autonomous (but you can reposition the robot in a “base” area), whereas VRC is mostly driver-controlled (VEXU notwithstanding). So in terms of specific experience, FLL didn’t help too much. But what it really taught me was how to think logically, as well as basic programming (though the graphical languages used in FLL are much less like a “real programming language” than, say, ROBOTC). So in that way my previous robotics experience was very helpful in VEX.

I think experience makes more of a difference than outright age, but often the two are linked. Lots of the concepts we’ve covered in my recent high school coursework (physics, calc, etc.) has allowed me to grasp concepts in robotics more quickly, so that I catch on better and do more faster than I would’ve at a younger age. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that 15-year-old me couldn’t have done some of the same things I’m doing now in VEX. In summary, I think experience matters more than age, but experience often comes with age.

Let us know when you get results!

That survey brings back memories. Mostly good. I remember how hard it used to be to build the base of a robot :smiley:
Age < Experience/Skill
I see a few young school teams that I know will do great when they’re more experienced (like next year).
I guess age is important for grasping concepts. My team’s builder says false nonsense sometimes.

I’m at 11 responses!

Anyone else want to pitch in for some more accurate results? :slight_smile:

Hi, all. I’m back with some results!!
There were two significant outliers: one, I’m guessing was a mentor, and the other was probably a typo? (hopefully not a troll :frowning: )

P.S. Any obvious trolls were deleted right away. (I’m looking at whichever 100-year-old is out there -_- )

I’ve averaged the remaining ages and here are the results!

Average Age: 16
Oldest Age: 18
Youngest Age: 14

Average Starting Age: 13.3
Oldest Starting Age: 16
Youngest Starting Age: 11

Length:
5% in their first year
30% in their second year
35% in their third year
20% in their fourth year
0% in their fifth year…? (I doubt it)
10% in their sixth year or more

55% of respondents did not have prior experience
Of the remaining 45% that did:
40% had 1 year of prior experience
10% had 2 years of prior experience
30% had 3 years of prior experience
10% had 4 years of prior experience
0% had 5 years of prior experience
10% had 6 or more years of prior experience

Also, of those that had prior experience,
90% believed that the prior experience benefitted them, while 10 percent believed it didn’t.

Note: There were 22 responses (not counting trolls) and of those 20 were used in these calculations. (Reasons listed as above)
Obviously this was not a very large demographic, considering it is only 20 people of the forums, and not a lot of teams are even on the forums.

A spreadsheet to come out soon (and of course more IN VEX posts :wink: ) so keep your eyes peeled! Or don’t, that’s kind of weird.

If something about the calculation looks off or you think I shouldn’t have taken a different approach, please message me or even leave a comment on these threads. Friendly and constructive criticism always welcome!

Are the results what you expected?
Thanks for you time and cooperation folks! Keep submitting more answers!
Survey link:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XSG2QJX

Hi all, I’m back! Who missed me? :wink:

I was hesitant to share the exact data because moving it all to the Google Drive would have been a hassle and no one seemed very interested after I posted the last post with the calculations.
However, I checked today and there was a drastic increase in the number of responses (a whopping 10 fills!).
I also figured a way to display data directly from SurveyMonkey without having to drop a whole extra 30 a month. (Really, who came up with that? :/)

HERE IT IS!
Note: All team numbers have been hidden for confidentiality.

All future IN VEX surveys and survey results will be posted on my profile page!
Have a question, concern, or a fun topic you’d like me to talk about next? Let me know!

Stay smart, folks! I’ll see you around. :slight_smile:

Edit: IP addresses have also been hidden just in case. (Not like you can really find out a lot from them but…)

We seem to have this happen to a certain extend in Minnesota.

We also have this in Mississippi, part of the reasoning behind it would be that a lot of kids take their freshman year of high school off of VEX due to other things they’re wanting to do that would conflict, it was certainly true for myself.