Every one of us wants to be successful in whatever it is we are involved in such as jobs, relationships, hobbies, and obviously competitions too. But, how to win a robotics competition? In this post, I have compiled the best tips and tricks to win at the VEX Robotics competition. You don’t have to be an engineer or have technical skills to start and organize a VEX IQ Challenge team. Just use the following resources to help your team get started in enjoying an amazing learning experience in the VEX IQ Challenge.
Before diving inside let’s have a look at some basic information about VEX Robotics competition.
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2. Robotics Explorer (Age 11+)
3. Robotics Champion (Age 14+)
Below is the simple guide to prepare your team for the VEX IQ Challenge:
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Equipment Your Team Will Need
Your team will need a VEX IQ robot kit and access to a computer and the Internet to utilize the free online curriculum and programming resources. The number of robots that your team will require depends on the number of students, the hands-on learning experience you plan to facilitate, and your available resources. The VEX IQ Super Kit, at a cost of $329.99, includes a handheld VEX controller, sensors, motors, hundreds of components to build one great VEX IQ robot, and a storage bin and tray to organize materials for use over multiple seasons. Additional VEX IQ components are available for purchase separately if your team chooses to add to their design and building options.
Develop Your Team
There is no maximum to the number of students who can participate on a VEX IQ team, but a minimum of two student drivers is required to participate in Teamwork and Robot Skills Challenge matches. Keep the number of your available resources and space in mind when developing your team, since students will benefit most from a well-supported hands-on learning experience. If your student interest exceeds available resources, consider recruiting additional support and space to coordinate multiple teams.
Plan Your Schedule
A meeting schedule can help organize your team for the season. Create a schedule that best meets your team’s availability, needs, objectives, and resources. For younger students, it may be helpful to limit meeting length to not more than two hours. As events approach, your team may decide to meet more frequently, in order to better prepare for their participation in the VEX IQ Challenge.
Plan Your Team Meetings
During the initial meetings, it is helpful for your team to develop a list of goals and a timeline for accomplishing these goals. Encourage your team to include this information in their Engineering Notebook. Meetings can be structured to accomplish your team’s goals in the planned timeline. Your team can make and document adjustments to their goals and/or timeline throughout the season. Using a planning process supports the development of invaluable organizational, time management, and project management skills in your students.
After your team learns more about the season’s challenge, the members will be very excited to build the robot! Encourage your team to use that energy and excitement, plus their knowledge and skills, to first brainstorm their game strategy and the designs that can best be used to solve the VEX IQ Challenge. Your team can investigate various brainstorming processes and choose the one that works best for them.
Develop a Team Identity
Developing your team identity can be a valuable, fun part of the team building process. Your team members should use their creativity to establish their own unique identity. Developing a team identity can include choosing a team name, creating displays for your pit (practice area) space, designing a team shirt, or creating a team cheer or song. These activities need not cost a lot to foster great teamwork, team spirit, and a strong sense of community.
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Assign Team Roles
Your team can be more productive if everyone is assigned a role. These roles can be rotated, so that team members can benefit from the full program experience. Choose roles that best fit the interests, skills, and needs of your students. Also, assign backup roles, in order to sustain your team when an illness or scheduling conflict occurs. Here are just a few suggestions:
Build, Test, and Improve the Robot
After adequate brainstorming, research, and design, your team can start building a robot to solve the VEX IQ Challenge. Your team can then test and make improvements to their robot design. Only one change should be made at a time, so that your team can evaluate and document the impact of each change in their Engineering Notebook. Unexpected results can provide an opportunity for your team members to collaborate and use their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to improve their robot’s performance.
Get Ready for an Event
After your team has designed and built a robot and recorded their learning in an Engineering Notebook, it’s time to get ready for an event. You and your team may not feel ready for the event, especially if it’s your first one, but participate anyway! The invaluable lessons that your team will learn and the opportunities to share with other teams aren’t to be missed!
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