VexIQ and FLL

Are there any teams that compete in VexIQ and FLL? Are there conflicts as to games. I know last season Worlds were back to back.

Aloha Steven,
I have run both programs just not during the same season. For this season, there were no conflicts in timing. I believe there was a week break after VEX worlds and before FIRST worlds. Both programs have a different philosophy. It is up to the coach and the charter institution that can discuss which is best for them.

-BAILEY

I’ve been coaching at this level for many years. Most of that time in FLL, but the last few in VEX IQ.

My interest is in the coaching of engineering & building robots, not in speech, so I don’t plan to go back to FLL.

Steve

Specifically regarding conflicts in scheduling, it depends on your region. FIRST is dividing their top level competition into two events in different cities on back-to-back weeks, so VEX Worlds will probably overlap with at least one of them for the foreseeable future. For 2017 VEX Worlds conflicts with the FIRST event in Houston, so teams in the southern and western US, western Canada, China, Australia, and New Zealand (among others) will have a choice to make if they compete in both programs.

Local level conflicts are also dependent on region. In my area (Michigan) FLL is smushed into the time frame before December break (qualifiers and state championships), whereas IQ is more evenly paced throughout the year with state championship in February or March, so it’s theoretically possible to do both. I started coaching FLL in 2005, and then coached FLL and VEX IQ simultaneously for the past three years. This is looking like it’ll be the year that my FLL career comes to end however, in part due to inconvenient conflicts between the two (one of many reasons).

Aloha Steve,
Please let me clarify a bit. I totally understand what you are saying and would like to share so our other forum members can see where we are coming from.

Okay everyone… here is a quick overview of FLL and VEX IQ…

FIRST Lego League
Team: minimum 2 students maximum 10 students ages 9-14. In this case grades of students are not considered but rather age)
Competition:Teams are strongly encouraged to enter all 4 categories. The highest award is only given to teams that do well in all 4 categories.

Category 1: Core Values - teams create a speech/presentation to talk about the core values of FLL and how it is used in their team.
Category 2: Robot Design - students do a speech/presentation for a panel of judges about their robot and the design features
Category 3: Research Project - students create a speech/presentation for a panel of judges about their research into the topic of the current year
Category 4: Robot Performance - the students run the robot on the competition field, only autonomously, to accomplish the current year’s goal.

Hence the FLL competition is 75% speeches/presentations and 25% robot.(of course this is a just a quick overview)

VEX IQ
Team: minimum 2 and maximum is whatever the coach wants.
Competition: Teams are encouraged to enter all 4 categories to win the Excellence award. But students can be very successful just trying any of the categories

Category 1: Teamwork Challenge - Students compete by driving with their robot and with another team in a 1 minute collaborative competition
Category 2: Robot Skills Challenge - Students compete by driving their robot alone in a 1 minute challenge to score as many points as possible.(Optional)
Category 3: Programming Skills Challenge - Students compete by operating their robot autonomously alone in a 1 minute challenge to score as many points as possible. (Optional)
Category 4: Design Award - Students present to a panel of judges on their teams design process for their robot (Optional)
Category 5: STEM Research Project - Students conduct research on a topic of their choosing which falls into the current year’s theme of S,T, E or M. (Optional)

As can be seen, the majority of the VEX IQ competition allows students to work with and play with robots rather than focusing on multiple speeches and presentations.

In conclusion, there are benefits and deficits of both programs. But in the end, I’m sticking with VEX IQ!!

-BAILEY

Regarding the differences between FLL & VEX IQ, take a look at the game videos for last year’s challenges.

FLL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akuN95EyXJk
VEX IQ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9GIF34HEvE

Have your kids watch both and then ask which one they would rather do.

If this was the case, I may still be doing FLL. But sadly it’s not. (I just checked to make sure it hasn’t changed in the last couple years)

The Champion’s award and tournament advancement is determined by scores of the three judged categories, but teams must only score in the top 40% with the robot.

That means the actual performance of the LEGO robot can NOT help your team advance. Think about that.

At an FLL event, teams normally only run their robot 3 times. If they do well on their first run, the others don’t matter.

At Vex Worlds, many teams ran their robot 20 times. The teams that won had to have 9 good runs.

Kids sign up to play with robots. Vex IQ let’s then do that.

Steve

Aloha Steve,
Those are some great stats. That is why I stick with VEX IQ. Each team will still need to make the best choice that fits their individual team. However here is why I like VEX IQ and the VEX program:

  • Kits are easy enough for kids to build with minimum adult intervention
  • Kits are affordably priced
  • There are many competitions that kids can do throughout the entire season (We must have been in close to 20)
  • There are many opportunities for kids to get into states and worlds(Competitions and Skills)
  • Kids can always improve upon their design. No robot lock down
  • Program uses basic tools to build. No fancy machines needing to purchase.
  • It’s affordable price makes it an easy sale for my principal and school
  • We can easily purchase and set up a full sized competition field in our facility and sometimes leave it set up.
  • The educational focus of this program is always “Front and Center”

There are so many more plusses. VEX IQ is great!! My team and I are with you Steve.

-BAILEY

I haven’t coached in FLL but one thing I like about VEX IQ is that teams are paired up randomly so there’s incentive to help each other in the pit area. Both are great programs though, just with different focus.

Just want to add something here about picking programs and some minor bashing of the other program. Currently combined FLL and VEXIQ reach about 4% of all available roboteers. I’m a long time VEX mentor, but I still direct roboteers and parent to FLL it it makes more sense for them. As long as they are doing robotics, don’t care what program they are in. Once we break the 85% mark we can start trying to move roboteers into our favorite program.

As a side note, FLL lets teams use the game pieces in their robots (since hey, they are Lego). Some new game element VEXIQ pieces this year that would make fun parts for building robots, I’d like to see them on purchase list.

Aloha Foster,
I do not get a sense from any of the posts here of “bashing” programs but rather everyone seems fair. If my posts seem to come across as “bashing” I would like to apologize.

-BAILEY

I second this.

I feel very strongly that REC and VEX have a better program when it comes to building and competing with robots. But, within the last month, I talked to a gentleman who in the end, asked which would be better for his son. In his case, it was FLL.

Steve