Middle School VEX

I am the programmer for 724A, a middle school VEX team that will be competing in it’s first VEX competition this weekend.

Online, we’ve seen many excellent robots, competitions, and ideas from high school teams. My question is, what are the main differences, in skill level, atmosphere, etc. between middle school and high school VEX?

By the way, what’s the difference between posting in the UNOFFICIAL answers and the general forum?

Well for one in Omaha the high school tournaments a like 20-30 more teams than middle school. The skill of the teams is more balanced in middle school from top to bottom and people tend to take it more seriously.

I have never been on a middle school team, and have not paid attention to middle school tournaments, so I don’t know.

From what I have seen, the top 10% of HS teams tend to be better than the top 10% of MS teams. This is understandable because they are older, and there are more HS teams.
The bottom 10% of HS teams are probably about equal with the bottom 10% of MS teams.

It would not surprise me if teamwork of the average MS team outweighs the teamwork of an average HS team. Who knows…

General forum would be for discussion, while unofficial answers would be for getting your query(s) addressed. :slight_smile: You posted in the correct section.

Well, it is obviously difficult to go into the specifics or individual teams, but in general, 3 main differences:

  1. HS teams tend to be better technically. They build robots that are more interesting, and they are at the level that will experiment with new ways of doing things, etc.
    Most MS teams are just starting out, so most of the robots will be quite standard.
    But then again, with design convergence, most robots will end up looking similar.

  2. HS tend to make better decisions during the game. It could be simply due to the difference in experience that’s all.
    And HS teams take coaching and scouting a lot more seriously than MS teams.

  3. There are more HS teams from USA, but more MS teams from Asia.

I have seen a lot of cool innovations in programming from High School teams. This comes from a little higher level of experience and access to actual programming classes.

I always notice MS Worlds have standard efficiency robots while High School tries a lot more game breaking designs. Is this because they have mentors to smack more sense into them? Or is this just because they have less creativity?

NAR’s rooster ← not high school but fits the pattern

As a former middle school team member, the competition is usually a lot easier. My old team hosts an all-middle school tournament for New England, and it’s very lax. I always seem to see more innovative designs in the middle school divisions, at least in my area.

The programming itself is usually less complex than high school teams, and often uses time and repositioning rather than sensors.

Also, you might want to read this: link

I have found in our region, HS teams tend to be more dedicated than MS teams. This may lead to better robots, and higher levels of competition in HS tournaments.

I think it varies by location but I will make a few generalizations.

with high school teams there is a level of respect in how teams interact with each other. That totally vanishes at the middle school level. I, as a rule, never trust what a middle scholar says about their robot without verifying it for myself.

I would say that as far as the robots go, the main difference is that the middle school bots do the same things the high school bots do but with a lot more screeching and groaning.

That being said, there are some middle school teams that are worth their weight in gold.
the last tournament I went to had a middle scholar team rank first and, in my opinion, were one of the politest teams that competed that day.

To be brutally honest the skill level(of the team) and knowledge level(of each individual) seem to inversely correlate once you see middle school teams that rival highschool teams. This is something ive seen from lurking at my brothers events and helping his team as a “mentor” when their teacher couldn’t make it.

Note though that this is a generality that does not apply to all teams for example the team 351 is on par with high schools but are all very polite and knowledgeable on what their robot actually does, something that cant be said for even some Highschool teams.