I’m a new Robotics teacher and I’m using Vex IQ in both my classroom and with an after school robotics club. I was given 2 classroom bundles as part of my inventory (24 kits) and have it broken out to 20 for my classes, and 4 for my club. Right now, I’m trying to keep my kits intact, but it’s been a lot of work to re-sort parts at the end of the year. How do other teachers do it?
One of the problems I get into is that when my club is setting ready for the competitions, they need more parts than what’s in a single kit, so they ‘borrow’ from other kits (making my re-sorting problem worse). What have other teachers done for spare parts? Do you buy extra kits and cannibalize them for spares, or do you just by a load of parts to use as spares?
I would budget a kit or two just for spare parts and replacing stuff that gets lost.
I am guessing the “club” are teams that will actually be competing… I would keep these kits very separate from the classroom kits and not allow either group to “borrow” from each other.
Sorting is a pain. Personally I would have the kids do it as part of the class or club or seek out older students to help. The older students can become good mentors too!
Over time I think everyone begins to accumulate a bigger inventory and it becomes less of an issue (though sorting is always there.)
For the classroom, the kits are probably enough. For the club (assuming they will do VIQC) I would add a Competition Add On and Foundation Add On for each of the 4 kits, this should give them everything they need for competition robots.
I have very similar numbers to you. I just sort all of the kits together. One bin for all of the corner connectors, one for the sensors with a couple of trays, etc. I have a spot in my room where kids just come and get the parts they need, with special parts like the Omni’s in the closet and the long shafts in my desk.
Ultimately, you will have to figure out what works for you, as this mess of parts may be incompatible with your school’s inventory method out with your personality.
I too have a robotic club and school kits. I have 24 kits for my two classrooms and five kits for my robotic club. I put all the general parts into a great big Global Industries cart with bins. Some of the speciality parts just for the robotic club I keep separated in parts bins. Below is a link to what my system looked like last year.
Now during class, I roll out one big yellow cart and a second old TV cart with small parts in the VEX top tray. The yellow cart has two sides with the same parts front and back. I hot glued on a part for each bin. I spend very little time putting away parts. All the small blue connectors are in one big bin. We use paper plates to gather parts when building. Then the plates hold parts when students are cleaning up at the end of the day.
Ultimately, you will come down on the side of what my kids used to call the “Communist Parts System” where all parts are held in common or allocating parts to each of your teams. In reality, I think most programs end up with a blended approach, where expensive components (Brains, controllers, batteries) are allocated to teams, and all other parts are held in common. For what it’s worth, the plastic bins are what we use in our warehouse to store VEX parts, although in our case, we stock boxes and bags, not individual components. Skyline here in Washington stores their parts in old oak chests originally used to store maps and blueprints. It’s an awesome solution, but it’s hard to find cabinets like that anymore. Because your competition teams need to go to tournaments, you will also need very portable storage, like the links below from the Home Depot .
Nothing is “best” and you can make any system work, and as long as you are consistent and fair, the kids will adjust to the system. I would keep your classroom and competition parts stored separately (under lock and key, if necessary) as your classroom parts need to be there for educational exercises, and competition teams are always hunting for that one gear they need to finish their robot.