This is a general question to anyone on a team:
Does your team change its members each year, or does the same group of people stick together for all of high school or middle school?
My team has about 20-25 members, and we are divided into four (next year 5!!!) smaller teams. However, the groups change each year. I also know that some teams have the same 3 or 4 people working together each year. Do you think there is an advantage to organizing the team that way, or do you prefer changing the teams?
Sometimes people like to stay together in a team because they have good synergy during the build process, programming, and competition. The downsides I guess are that their expertise doesn’t get passed on to other members.
Our team runs differently than most, so its style may work for you. We are a single team that builds and competes with 5 robots. At the beginning of the year, everyone starts building prototypes and people will combine prototypes together to start building robots. People tend to work more on one robot, and that is the one that they compete with at a competition, (still our scouting strategies are based on our team doing well, not just one robot). This setup has worked for use in the past, and it will be how our club will function in the future.
It also helps that our mentor is very hands off. Only a few times in my 4 years, has he gone and helped us with our robots. He lets us make the decisions about how the robots will function ourselves and then we have to live with what we built.
Hope this helps
From what little I know, it seems that a team of 3-4 kids who can really work well together and get along with each other 60% of the time is a very rare thing. If a group of kids works well together and wants to stay together, you never want to break them up. If you want them to share their experience and knowledge, then urge them, as a team, to help out a little, have them describe to the other members what they do, how they solve problems, etc.
The worst scenario I have seen is when the schools intentionally try to mix highly motivated, highly capable kids with those that are much less motivated. The tension becomes terrible. In my humble opinion, it is best to match “like with like” and then help those less-experienced teams from the outside rather than try to plug a high-functioning kid into a group that has problems focusing, etc.
We allow self-selection and choice of team members to stay with a team from year to year, or switch. Whatever promotes the most learning while minimizing tension.
The middle school to high school jump causes some team break up too. But they sometimes end up back together the next year.
We like to have a maximum of 5 roboteers per team because beyond that someone is left standing around which is not good. Three highly motivated students is the optimal number but our cost model does not generally allow for that. 4 is our target number.
Mixing more and less experienced roboteers sometimes works and sometimes does not. If the synergy of the team is very solid and a new person is added it does not always work either. However, some people are able to flourish in an existing team and accept the learning curve. That is one of the danger points in drop off from year to year. It seems to work better in high school ages than middle school. I am not sure if that is a maturity thing or communication skills factor or what.
Currently on the team I’m on (this is our second year in VEX) we have a small team of five people and are not with any specific school.
We generally get along very well. I personally like smaller teams because you have more involvement and everyone works together, also when we drove our robot we were good at communicating between our two drivers and our coach, that also leaves two scouts-witch works out great in my opinion.
The fact that we where all friends before the team started probably helps with the communication thing as well tho.
well, that’s how our team works anyway. i hope this helps!
This is the question I have been thinking about. We have three sub teams, A, B, and C, and we are college and career academy. According to our mentor’s will, what we are supposed to do is that about 20 people all work together, finish three robots and compete. A, B and C simply means that we can bring three robots to the competition. At the beginning of toss up he strictly prohibited division inside the club and all of us must work together. To enforce this, he let our toss up captain, who was working on a decent robot as driver, to leave that project and help others, and the programmer became the new driver for our best robot at that time.
This is the reason that I keep calling us team 3921, rather than 3921A, B or C. I am pretty sure a lot of teams exist like the way we do, but that is not necessarily the way I like. Although we worked as a giant team, we still divided into sub groups that oriented on one specific robots in toss up.
My observation tells me that people become more productive when they focus on a specific goal, like a robot, rather than all goals. Everybody is impossible to be in charge of every robot. And everyone is also impossible to work smoothly with everybody else. I pretty much like how club 323, 675 or 80 exist. Every sub team has a different identity and they work and compete relatively individually. This is why I am currently working with my friend on skyrise only. We can communicate very well and we both know decently about VEX, and I wonder how the situation will change when summer ends.
In conclusion, I like clubs with clear division among individual teams. VEX is a perfectly fair competition platform where the true passionate ones can stand out, and the situation should be the same within a club. One can learn very fast from other friends’ help, but must walk his/her own way to the desired title. I do not specially prefer a club in which only few people work really hard and get all sub teams qualified, and the honor belongs to everyone. Subteams should be formed naturally by people who can work with each other, and compete equally according to their ability.