Resources from new coaches?

I got myself into coaching a middle school team, I have been a FLL coach for two years, and some of my kids have FLL experience but we’re totally clueless when it comes to VEX. Are there articles, tutorials, build guides, exercises, etc, that I can incorporate into our sessions? Thanks!

In more general terms, where do we start apart from assembling a field? I’ve got 10 kids, one or two bricks with remotes and a rather limited selection of motors/sensors/plates/beams/etc. I was thinking of having half the team build a driving platform while the other half is getting some hands-on experience building powered or passive attachments, and maybe get into autonomous driving if there’s time left. There’s probably something I’m overlooking.

The RECF has an extensive collection of resources at their website. The subsection I think you might start at is https://www.roboticseducation.org/teams/

In terms of your plan, I would suggest making as many teams as you have brains, and having each team build a competition bot. If you are short on other parts, I can see the split you outline being necessary, but 5 per team is a bit large.

GL

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There’s so much stuff out there the problem is trying to absorb it all. Since you and some of your kids have FLL experience you can build up on that. The link Doug provided is excellent. Another one is https://www.vexrobotics.com/vexiq/resources/vexiq-resources. I would also recommend having the kids start off with one of the standard Vex robots https://www.vexrobotics.com/vexiq/resources/robot-builds. Vex is great at providing a handful of standard robots that can play each of the games. For this season’s game, Clutch or Flex are good ones to use. These are starter robots. They can play the game, but you’ll want to expand beyond them to have a great robot.

You’ll need the Vex OS firmware to be installed onto the brain and motors/sensors/controller. That can be found on the download section from the VexIQ Resources page. It should also provide a link to the free software. You’ll need that to program teleop for the controller (unless you use the default set up that’s built into the brain), as well as the autonomous programs. Since your kids have FLL experience they should be able to get going with the Vex Code programming software.

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Is it typical to program for the Driver Skills Challenge? How much do you automate and what actions are good candidates for that? I imagine an extreme case where the driver’s involvement is launching the robot in autonomous mode but doesn’t that violate the spirit of the game, if not the letter?

“the letter” of the rules don’t say you can’t automate driver skills, but your drivers would still have to pass the controller at 25-35 seconds, even though they wouldn’t be doing anything. I’ve never seen a team not drive during driver skills, though. Most judges think its cool to see semi-automatic routines being programmed by the students…it show some advanced thought. Students should be documenting their brainstorming and design thoughts about automating tasks in their design notebooks, if that’s what they’re thinking of doing.

Legos make brick bots, we have Brains in IQ! :smirk:

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yes, I’m still stuck in the FLL world.

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Hi, @ae5880. Programming the teleop here is programming a custom layout for the controller. You can assign different motors to different buttons. Vex will give you the standard Driver Control option on the brain. Driver Control option is based on default behaviors on each port if a type of motor or sensor is plugged into it (https://help.vex.com/article/269-how-to-use-the-driver-control-program). Most teams I’ve seen using Driver Control have their left or right drive motors either in ports 1 and 6 or 7 and 6. This allows a tank drive control where left joystick controls forward and back on left motor, and right joystick for right motor.

If you want to do other types of controls like an arcade/Xbox style control where all robot movement on left joystick only, then you need to program that with the software provided. This is the teleop. If you program a custom controller, you will see “Teleop” as one of the selection items on the brain.

Also to kmmohn’s comment, yeah, there are some teams that incorporate some autonomous into their teleop when doing Teamwork matches or Driver Skills matches. Last season, Next Level, a lot of teams had pre-defined routines for hanging the robot on the hanging bar by pushing a button on the controller. Our team had that, plus presets for all of the different lift heights (start, yellow hubs, etc.). Having these routines allowed our drivers not have to mess around and spend lots of time with getting the lift in the right positions.

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10 kids is a lot for one team a iq team can be done very well by 1 person especially in middle school
1.do 2 teams maybe 3 if u can afford it
2. have at least 1 kid per team codeing vexcode iq blocks is great for beginners if u have questions me and others can help u if a problem arises
3. if any kids want to do CAD let them it brings your journal up like 5 notches if u have a tryhard use inventor if u dont the vex snap one is just fine
4.if u have a lot of builders make sure they stay on task if their all working your team of 10 (or hopefully 2 teams of 5 ) can build a really good bot
5.for this year make sure u can stack the green boxes u will not be competitive if u cant
early season u can ignore the balls

6.download vexosos, vexcode iq blocks,and watch this

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I have been the head judge of several VRC events, and the logic is the same. If your students decided humans were inaccurate/slow and run large portions of the driver control time with autonomous actions, they might just win an award for it.

That is a plus not a minus. On the VRC side some world championship skills winners have even automated the entire driver skills.

More power to you, automating as many things as possible. :smile:

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Minimum is 2 kids per IQ team. I didn’t even notice OP said they had 10 kids. Yeah 10 is a lot for one team. But they are starting out, so resources maybe a challenge to have 2 or more team at this point. When we did our first year, we had 8 kids on one team… and, yes, that’s not efficient or effective. There just wasn’t enough work for all 8 kids to be fully engaged or involved. During the middle of the season the parents agreed we would split into 2 teams the following season.

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As an experiment, I programmed a couple of “auxiliary” motors to be activated in driver skills matches, but immediately lost the ability to control the drivetrain (regular tank) with the controller. Is that expected? Would we have to write our own teleop program? Would it look pretty much like the one in the Examples that come with Vex IQ Code Blocks?