Why do VEX instructions focus on a single student building the project and not multiple individuals

This is more of a general question! Why does VEX focus on creating builds that are for a single individual. I would love to see future builds that allow students to assemble side a and side b and combine the two. As a STEM instructor, I use this process when building certain structures. It allows more students to remain actively engaged. If anything, VEX could create a list of which sets of instructions can be built separately by other students and then combined at a given stage.

The same works with VEX STEM classes. This way of thinking could be used in their STEM classes. I plan on re-writing some of the simpler instructions so that a partner can build and not sit there collecting dust.

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I’m going to take it you are talking about building one of the Hero Bots, this year is Fling.

You can do round robin A pulls the parts out for B, B builds, C pulls the parts out for A, a builds, B pulls the parts out for C, etc.

For Fling Roboteers A and B build 1-20 while C & D build 21 - 51 and then A & B build 52-94. You can divide even more if you want. I mostly do round robin for 1-20 to make sure everyone knows how to build and then do the split (21-51) / (52-94) as an example. Once you get past that the robot is mostly one piece, so it’s back to round robin.

On the STEM classes the split is a good idea. You might want to send your updates and ideas back to @tfriez (VP for Educational Technology) and @jmckenna (Education Strategy) at VEX to see if they want to include that in their large STEM offering.

Welcome to the Forum!

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Before I got burned out by a headstrong GT administrator, I helped coordinate VEX IQ for my district and the turnover rate of teachers/coaches is exponential. I just feel that VEX could greatly expand its reach into new brackets if the instructions were better focused on splitting the builds. An experienced teacher would look at the sheet and find ways to split the load, but newbies will always struggle going into VEX. The Hero build is just by far a complex structure and i feel that kids who parallel build (say the lower drivetrain will quickly learn from each other in a small group vs two large groups trying to pick it over.

Anyways I’m purchasing a GO kit for well below what VEX sells it for and I can’t wait to dig into it and see what builds i can create from it. The idea of buying a class set and using it to teach my 3rd and 4th STEM Specials will be fun!

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Well, vex expects that you dont actually use fling for competitions, more like a pathfinder for future robots. They expect you to come up with your own design.

Totally get it, but like I said not every school district has the physical body resources to teach kids how to build ground up machines. Ten miles away we have NASA engineers teaching their kids to think outside the box with coaches that get paid to do so. My students can barely follow directions to build triangular prisms out of popsicle sticks with step by step videos. They built fling with the wrong axles and caused the main structure to bind when operated. It was a mess for them to try and problem solve. My sons robotics teacher didn’t even charge the batteries before competition and were tethering controllers to the bots because they couldn’t understand a thing. I had to go in and explain what was wrong. Found out the original coach bailed on the first month and two ladies just picked it up because the kids where devastated.

Cool that you were able to do that, my inquiries with Vex were they sold at full retail. So that was the end of my interest in Go or 1-2-3. Since I’m the key person in my district for robotics, that won’t be a direction that we go,

I did buy the Build Blitz kits, Costco had them at 50% of retail and I picked up 10. The robots there are much easier and I’ve used them in summer sessions as a building practice.

You touched a nerve here with me and the reading of “Student Lead” robotics. I’ve always worked under the FIRST model, mentors being able to transfer skills to the roboteers. Lots of places the only adult involvement is dumping parts on the table and showing the video. For early skill roboteers this is a recipe for disaster.

Yes, the question is when starting from zero, where do you start? My experience has been that beginning roboteers build the hero bot (since there are instructions and “no adult involvement”. They are complex and a roboteer may spend weeks building it. There likelihood of ripping it apart and starting over is very low.

I invite you to go to VEX worlds and see how many robots are Fling with minor mods. I think you will be surprised. You’ll also see lots of the VRC hero-bot on the metal side.

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Hi @Brian_282 Thanks for the question. For classroom implementations, we do not focus on creating builds for a single individual. We focus on collaborations throughout our STEM Labs.

Here is an article that focuses on building collaboration in VEX IQ: https://kb.vex.com/hc/en-us/articles/4405841047828

Here are two articles for VEX GO:

We also have collaborative coding article: https://kb.vex.com/hc/en-us/articles/360060278291-Using-Pair-Programming-for-Student-Collaboration

Just also as a FYI, we have started doing follow along builds to help novice teachers: https://kb.vex.com/hc/en-us/articles/4463836707476-Building-Your-First-IQ-2nd-gen-Robot

Again, thanks for the question. Doing an article around a collaborative build for a Hero Bot is a good idea. We will look into that in the future.

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That’s a pretty dangerous accusation to make. I’m assuming you are talking about this program https://magikidlab.com/

That is a well known, well respected program run by engineers and funded in part by NASA. Those engineers know the rules and I’ll bet you all the money in your pockets that all of those roboteers designed and built those robots. And I would bet that they all have notebooks describing that.

Did they get classes on engineering? Yes. Would there have been a session on how to make a catapult? Yes. Was there a followup session on how to make a catapult better? I would imagine so. Could you have done all of that? Yes.

This is the fallacy of the slavish adherence to “Student Centered means No Adults”. If you look at the Student Centered guidelines you’ll see it’s Student Centered. You need to look at the green and yellow zones to see what’s allowed and not. It’s OK for some part to be in the yellow zone, especially for new teams or new concepts.

STEMRobotics ran 5 weeks of programming classes where roboteers got up to speed on how to use all the sensors in their robots. Each programmer also got to talk about their code and got feedback about what they were doing. Not writing code, not giving them an auton routine, but teaching them programming. But all of them walked away with the knowledge of how to code and good ideas on how to do better auton routines. None of what was done is even close to the red boxes in the Guidelines

I’ve said this for years and years "Dumping a box of robot parts on the table and saying “build a robot” doesn’t have a happy ending. Do we want to penalize teams that have someone that had math and understands geometry? Euclid was a great mathematician and often called the father of geometry. After him, everyone got taught, mostly by an adult.

Just because teams get crushed by other teams, it doesn’t mean that there were adult built robots. But there was most likely classes in physics, geometry, analysis, etc. And those teams took that class information and applied it to the real world.

For those of you that are unhappy with the Magikids, go to their site. All of their materials are there. Write to them and ask about their programs. They will be happy to help. Their mission is the same as everyone else, Inspire through robotics.

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I implore every individual to stay on topic.

Thank You,

Brian

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