New team starting in the fall

I’m starting some teams in the fall here at the elementary school I work at. Wondering what some of the veterans think about robot design for the crossover challenge to help guide my kids in a direction. I’m sure we will use the clawbot, but for groups that might try and customize I can imagine keeping in mind motion obviously, then something to push or pull the bridge up or down, grabbing hexballs, unloading hex balls, and lifting to different heights. What else am I missing? Throwing?

My very new team is planning to build the IKE bot ( to use it as another possible starting spot beyond the claw bot. I agree the challenge is trying to get them to think beyond the basic bots.

Building some sample bots or even just subsystems to test ideas is a good starting point. Then make them sit down once they have tested some ideas and plan a strategy for their robot. That will dictate what the final (ish) build looks like.

Crossover is going to be interesting because that bridge may take too much time to go back and forth over in a match. It may require a LOT more teamwork to score big points.

Aloha mgrobbel,
Thank you for taking the time to mentor our youngsters in VEX IQ. If your are planning for competition here is what I would recommend at the beginning:

  1. Create an Engineering Design Process. Have the kids create a poster and maybe do some fun activities with the kids to demonstrate this process. It is important that they understand this process. This will not only help in the construction of their robot but the student’s understanding of the Engineering process is what judges look for in competitions.

  2. Use this design process and create a team binder for each of your teams consisting of 2 to 4 kids each. The kids can create a cool front cover. Inside a team profile can be created with a team picture talking about the kids, the school, or anything unique to that group of kids.

  3. Create a journal system in your engineering note book. I have the kids create a template which includes spots to write in who is in attendance, the date, the time, what will be worked on and what has been accomplished. Train your students to fill this in every day.

  4. Use the process and the engineering book every day. Fill in writing, research and build pictures every day of robotics team time.

Allow this book and process to become the guiding force in your team. In my team engineering notebook we start with:

  1. Research (Include rules of game, notes on game, research different types of products and similar machines created)
  2. Develop Ideas (Sketches, notes on sketches)
  3. Create Idea (Build pictures, notes)
  4. Evaluate( Test the robot and include notes on the success or failure of all design choices)

This process is iterative.

A little “up front” work will pay off incredibly in the end especially if your team is planning to go for the Design Award or the Excellence Award.

Best of Luck!!


As a test build session with my team last night we built IKE to use as a starter platform and there are some pitfalls I would like to share:

  1. Picking up hexballs with IKE, you will find the hexballs get positioned in such a way to press buttons on the controller. This caused IKE to freeze during practice last night.
  2. IKE needs to have something added to the gripper to better carry the hexballs.
  3. Center of gravity will be a problem once a hexball has been picked up.

You might have better luck than we did… IKE ended up in pieces this morning as the team has scrapped him and is now moving in a different direction.

Hope this helps with sparking ideas for a fun experience.


I’m not surprised at those results. My team started it’s summer break before they could finish IKE, so we will just have to see. My coaching philosophy is to let them make as many mistakes as it takes (at least early in the season). I feel they learn so much more.

Bailey nailed it on what any team should be doing and I second it thoroughly. (This will be my first full season of VEX IQ coaching, hence the low post count. I have coached in VEX and FTC for many seasons)