Past experience has shown me that for many teams, the robot and table definitely come before the project. I know that many teams approach the project like homework – a necessary requirement, but definitely not as much fun as playing with LEGO. I’ve heard coaches admit that they don’t really like the project part of the challenge. I’ve even heard tell of one team that wrote their project presentation on the way to a competition. Urban legend? Possibly, but the idea is scary!
Believe me, I completely understand the challenges involved in getting middle school kids excited about a science project – especially for teams that meet after a long regular school day. But, as coach, the attitude you have towards the project will definitely set the tone for your team. Enthusiasm is contagious – and sometimes you have to think outside the box to get your team – and yourself – motivated (more on that later).
So, which one should come first… project or robot? The answer – obviously – is a great big neither. Just like the yolk and the white inside this perfect little orb on my counter, project and robot are integral parts of the FLL season and need to be approached simultaneously and as a whole for your team to have a successful experience.
Now, back to that egg.