How are your school VEX teams set up?

As of now, our team is having a huge dispute over how to organize our teams. We are trying to make 4886a into a senior team, so members can look forward to joining it, but at the same time, the parents and some members are not liking this idea. Owen and I, part of 4886a, have already started our robot Sack Attack, and now everyone is telling us that we have to abandon this robot and all of the seniors should not be together, but have one senior in each team. This is not fair, but what is everyone’s view on this topic??? How are your teams organized??? Owen, captain of 4886a requested that I be on his team because (…)

We have five teams at our school (3053, 3054, 3055, 3056, and 3057). Of these teams, we have one team that is considered the “top” team which is us, Team 3057, and we have taken the most dedicated members of the club and put them all on our team. We have certainly been very successful since we split the more dedicated members onto one team as we all are willing to meet more often and for longer. I would say this is not unreasonable at all as long as you make sure to teach the younger teams a bit about how everything works so that when you leave the club isn’t lost. Also, if you are friends and are all committed to robotics, there is no reason you shouldn’t be on one team. Anyway, just my two cents. Hope everything works out with your team.

We have 5 VEX teams, 675A-E. My team, 675A was easily the best team we had this past year. At the beginning of next season, the teams will be shuffled a bit, mostly based on the schedules of the people on each team. This does mix the talent up a little bit, but the core group of dedicated members on my team are going to try to stay together since we did so good, and we know we can do better in Sack Attack.

Our school has a similar club design to what your idea is. 1200 is the senior team and everyone works up to it. Keeping the club going though requires the seniors to help out the incoming freshman and all the others when they need help. All the other teams are friends that like working together and they just form a team and a name then they learn from others in our club and try things themselves to make their teams and robots better. For your idea you are going to need club unity where you have your own official team but you are willing to openly help everyone in the club when they are in need of it

We tried to organize teams that had mixed ages for Gateway at the beginning of the year, the idea was that the seniors could mentor the freshman. This did not work out at all and by the middle of the year we were back to a senior team, junior team, freshman team etc. This year we will just organize by grade, however, we are small enough that everyone pretty much helps out everyone else and exchanges ideas.

Last year for programming we had a couple of students who handled all the programming and were not dedicated to one team during the build. They then tended to hookup with the students in their grade during competitions.

We also moved around drivers a little so if a driver was not available for a competition then the backup driver from another team would take his place.

We have three teams at our school. Each team has seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshman. This yields the obvious problem of having team member who are not dedicated but still attend. This, however, has worked for us for several years. We have never tried a JV/ Varsity team, though the idea intrigues me.

We have a senior team, but also one senior captain on each junior team. That way none of the junior teams are stumbling to learn even the basics by themselves. The senior captain has the final say in any matter on the junior team though, to prevent severe arguments among the members. It’s a structure to help everyone learn something.

I just wanted to clarify, when I’m talking about a senior team I mean they are 12th graders, that does not necessarily mean they are a better team but just the age of the students is similar. All it does is allow a team to stay together for their time in high school if they want to. We do not enforce strict rules, and if a student want to work with another group that is also ok.

a mix is usually good. just try to have one set leader for your club/teams.

While we are looking changing things up a bit for Sack Attack for Gateway we organized our school’s teams as such:

  1. Students were given the option to apply for one of the slots on the “Z” designation team, which for us is considered the “top level” team. The “Z” bot starts development shortly after the game is released.

  2. Any students that were not part of “Z” were asked to indicated what style of robot they wanted to build and other teams were formed by students wishing to build similar play-style robots. This helped alleviate some of the intra-team conflict when starting the design process.

Generally speaking a student cannot be a part of “Z” for consecutive years so all our returning students from our Round Up “Z” team who had not graduated were on different teams.
Example: the Round Up “Z” operator ended up being the programmer and driver for the “H” designation bot that was also at Worlds.

Edit: To put it terms of an previous poster: we consider “Z” “Varsity” and everybody else “Junior Varsity.” Given the growth of our program (thanks middle schools!) we are considering extending the “Varsity” label to another designation but that is largely dependent on student interest.

Some other random trivia: we generally let the students pick their letter designation, and we found out that certain letters are apparently not available.

In our previous years, we have split up most of the teams evenly and all of us have been able to qualify one way or another.

But next year, we are thinking of having 3 experienced teams and 1 rookie team because we have found that in the more experienced teams, the new people can’t do much because the more experienced people are doing everything while they do nothing. Putting the rookies on a team together will hopefully activate a panic response in them when the first tournament comes along and force them to get their team together, plan, build something that will probably fail and then learn from their mistakes. Of course we will teach them the basics in a week long boot camp, but other than that, they are on their own.

We were also thinking about having 3 team leaders and then a week long build session where all the club members build with every robot and then decide which team they want to be in instead of placing each person into a random team and they don’t get any say in the decision.

Thanks for all your input! It’s also hard for our team since at times we don’t get along, and certain people can only work with certain people.

This was our same exact plan. Last year when the new kids were on the experienced teams, all they did was sit around and play games and talk about minecraft. We also agree with them all on the same team, they will learn the same way our robotics team started and learned.

We had only one team for Gateway, 7581H, and it was very exclusive as to what ages it allowed. We had a 7th Grader, five 8th graders, and a 9th grader. The 7th grader and 9th grader were in such different maturity levels that they almost never got along. Next year, we’re moving the 7th grader down to our brand-new middle-school team (7581SomethingotherthanH), and from then on, we’re going to divide by age and experience (we’re going to try to keep the current older team intact for as long as possible). People of different ages, we found, do not work very well together. I think you should indeed have a senior team.

A school near us recently made a second team.
Their primary team, 1581A, was almost completely the same as it was for Round Up.
Their second team, 1581C, as almost completely made of new members.
1581A outdid almost every team in Michigan, and they were really good friends.
1581C wasn’t quite as experienced, but they rivaled a lot of the teams here. Their robot was pretty good, and they were consistent semi-finalists. The 1581 teams would not have done as well of they’d divided their older kids among the two teams, because the kids are always going to want to be with their friends. We expect the 1581 teams to pull off a great season next year.

the way we have it is you can be on any team you want really. the only exceptions are that there cant be a team of all new members and it has to be some what evenly distributed.

That’s how we had it last year. But since we wanted people to do work, we made 3 person teams. That’s when we started having problems

For the past two teams we have had everybody just choose a team with a given captain but next year we are adding an “advanced” team as well as one or two new teams.

To be on the advanced team you would have to qualify and be invited. I personally don’t like the idea of this team from our school yet simply because there are not enough people with experience to keep this team AND our other teams successful.

The rest of our teams is simply based on what days you can meet/who you want to be on a team with/where you are needed.
The only people who don’t really have a choice of teams are the captains.

Team 1492 WASABI is organized into 3 teams. At the beginning of the Gateway season, we decided as a team that we would prefer 3 evenly matched teams that would all be able to be individual, competitive entities while also be able to create a collaborative environment that was positive for both veterans and rookies alike.

We’re not really a school team, but more of a group of friends with a common interest in robotics. In this way, we were able to deal with the problem of rookie passivity by staying positive and encouraging experimentation from all of our members. Specifically, our two team captains led A and Z while I (driver for Z in Round Up), along with another senior member, took charge of X. We found that the team distinctions did not put 4 to 5 people to a robot, but gave 3 robots for our 13 minds to work on, so that we could get all 13 pairs of hands on any robot.

Our team may be under special circumstances as a private team made up of friends that have known each other for awhile (half the team went to elementary school together), but I hope these insights into our team organization are helpful!

As far as our school robotics program goes, there is really no “program”. Basically it consists of the a group of friends who like robotics and decided to start their own team. All of the senior members (3 11th graders and 2 9th graders) like to go together, all other people who wish to be in 2243 gather a group of at least 4 and start their own rookie team. Members from the senior team help in coaching the rookies but aren’t really part of the team.

The reason this is done is because in Puerto Rico there are 4 subdivisions in each tournament: Middle School Rookie, Middle School Advanced, High School Rookie, High School Advanced. The advanced divisions are specifically for teams that have already played their rookie year.

Exothermic (10’s )lets people choose what team they want to be on (as long as the team doesn’t mind). This way team members can have friends on their teams and dedicated teams can form.

One think to keep in mind: Don’t have too many leaders on one team. they will often argue.