Lessons Learned

1. The need for more mentor and parent involvement. It is hard to be successful when you don’t have enough adult help to keep the students on task. The days that there was only one to two mentors, the students were not focused and progress was not made. With the time constraints set to build a robot this made things stressful at times.
2. We needed more student involvement at the beginning and throughout the season. Members of the team would bring other students to join towards the end of the season after the robot had been built and we were just making adjustments and practicing. This increased the lack of focus of the original students and increased students messing around in the workshop instead of being productive.
3. One of the major lessons learned is that we needed to start earlier to establish a team. Our late start led to having a team with little focus and organization on kick off day. We hope to work with the 2018 team members this summer, so they are knowledgeable and able to help work with incoming new team members this fall and build a strong recruitment plan. We have already made connections with the Hazel Park Junior High team so we can.
4. One of our challenges was the financial support. We need to start the process of finding sponsors earlier in the school year who can help the team financially or with donation of materials, time (mentoring) and/or expertise of different aspects of the program.
5. We learned that it was extremely beneficial to have a practice robot if possible. This allowed for continual practice after bagging the competition robot and developing improvements of the robot.
6. FIRST Robotics has the power to impact students, give students voice, and enrich school experiences. The following parent quote backs up this lesson learned.Parent Quote “This was a very positive experience for my son. He has never talked about anything at school until he started to build the robot.” Jennifer Prince
7. We learned that it can be easy to get tired and angry, so it’s important to take breaks and that sometimes having less people working on the same task makes it easier and more organized. For example during competition with only 3 students attending tempers flared, so we rotated students into different jobs to help ease the tension.

Quotes from students:

“We competed in two events. We competed at Centerline and Marysville. At Centerline, we were 26th place out of 40 and At Marysville, we came in at 24 out of 40…which is pretty good for a Rookie team.”

“The most important thing to do when you first get the game is to learn the game and develop a strategy, build a robot specifically for the game, practice a whole bunch, scout a lot to use other people’s ideas, and then change your robot to make it more applicable to the game.”