Looking at starting MS team

Hi folks. I am researching starting a new team at my school. I am the middle school computer science teacher and formerly coached FIRST robotics at a different school.

Got some questions, of course!

  1. $$ point of entry – I have one VEX kit. What else would I need for one team?
  2. Hours per week – what the recommendation for teams to practice?
  3. Deadlines for ordering materials and starting team?
  4. STEM challenge – valuable or not? (I will say that the FIRST requirement for this is the reason for my question. I found it valuable… my teams, not so much!)

Thanks in advance,
Bob Irving
Porter-Gaud School
Charleston, SC

I am going to assume you mean VEX IQ since you are on the IQ forums. Middle School students also have the option of competing in VRC (EDR) and you could ask this same question on those forums as well.

IQ Answers:

  1. Team registration and tournaments fees on robotevents.com would be the only real “needs” to get started if you already have an IQ kit. Some useful additions would be omni wheels, extra batteries, and extra motors. Alternatively the competition kit and foundation kit are good options if you have the budget. $300-$500 (not including travel, lodging) is a good start.

  2. This will be student driven but 2-4 hours is a good starting point.

  3. VEX is a bit different then what you are used to in FIRST as there are many teams that consider the build season year-round. I suppose the deadline would be before the last tournament in your region. Many teams will go from September-February for qualifying tournaments and aim for competing in 2-5 tournaments.

  4. I’d say yes but should be driven by team and team’s goals. Some of the kids I work with are more interested in the STEM project then robot building!