Hi, I am a new coach for a team of 8-11 years old students. I am hoping to develop self-directed learning in students through the Vex IQ experience. In addition to the needed advice and feedback from the coaches, I wonder if there are any resources on Vex IQ where students in that age group can search and read up on their own to try to find possible solutions in different areas (building, mechanics, programming) independently? Thank you
VEX has several IQ playlists on their official youtube channel:
Like this one:
In addition to that, there are many VEX IQ tutorials from other people.
Also, VEX has a knowledge base with various resources:
Finally, search this forum for topics and videos with people showcasing their robots to get some ideas and inspiration.
You never know what kind of silly project will get your students excited:
Are you a member of the VEX IQ World Wide Coaches Association?(https://www.facebook.com/groups/143891106280286) This is a group dedicated to developing VEX IQ robotics teams and programs. You’ll need to answer 3 questions to join (to prove you’re an adult mentor/coach/teacher).
What is your name?
What is your quest?
What is your favorite color?
Sorry, couldn’t resist.
what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow!
African or European?
I don’t knooooooowwwwwwwwww…oof
However, while numerous online resources for VEX IQ are great, in my opinion, they alone are not sufficient for students in this age group, especially if you have in mind competitive robotics.
Every time kids run into a problem for which they couldn’t find a solution in reasonable time, they run a risk of losing interest and abandoning the project.
Given the multiple distractions that surround them all the time, the probability math says that only a few most dedicated kids will be able to maintain focus in the long term on their own, without adults or more experienced peers guiding them over such obstacles and speed bumps.
In my observations, a lot of middle and elementary school kids have a very frustrating experience over not understanding such simple things as gear ratios or lever force diagrams. Those are important for success in robotics, but if they haven’t taken high school physics class and nobody sat down with them to explain these things until they get them - it could get very frustrating, very fast.
It might not even be obvious for the students themselves what is the cause of their struggle - I’ve seen more than once middle school students cry at the competition when they see other robots (that look very similar to their’s) work, while their own robot is failing. Turned out nobody had explained to them how to properly place small and large gears in order to increase or decrease torque or velocity (and what is the torque to begin with).
To ensure the long term success, it is very important for adults to teach students some foundational knowledge (in physics, mechanics, VEX IQ building tips and tricks, programming, etc…) and setup an environment where it is easy for them to get help.
Only when they have accumulated a critical mass of basic knowledge, then you can let them do some discovery learning on their own, without the risk of the entire thing turning into frustrating experience for both kids and adults.
(P.S. If anyone has a happier story about self-directed learning, please, share. Because I kind of feel bad responding to @hippo_mich with all this doom and gloom).
For various VEXCode videos, they could check out my youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/MarkJohnston
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