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Robotics Teams - Why They Matter

Posted by Mark Stansell on Nov 16, 2017 11:18:47 AM
Mark Stansell

What is a Robotics Team?

There are several organizations that organize Robotics Teams - including Lego, VEXIQ, First Robotics Competition and Wonder League Robotics. Each organization is targeted to an age specific audience.

Wonder League - for example is targeting for kids beginning at age 6, while First Robotics is a high school league. All of these competitions, however, do have similarities. The purpose of the Robotics Teams at YML are to foster and cultivate a love for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) topics AND to help kids navigate the difficulty of being on a team.

Robotics Teams vs. Sports Teams

Are robotics teams similar to sports teams in any way? We pose this question to parents and team members at the onset of each new season. For the most part people easily see the similarities, and not just in the fact that they both contain the word team.

The table here lists some of the similarities and differences.

Attribute Sports Teams Robotics Teams
Practices Held together at a specific time and location. Held together at a specific time and location.
Competition Scheduled and whole team attends/competes. Scheduled and whole team attends/competes.
Coaches Organizes practices & creates competition plans. Organizes practices & assists players in creating competition plans.
Parents Pays fees, attends & cheers at competitions. Pays fees, attends & cheers at competitions.
Players Attends practices, competitions, executes coach's plans. Attends practices, competitions, writes, creates, and executes TEAM's plans.

While it is true that the team concept is very much in play for Robotics Teams, the glaring difference is that on a robotics team players have much more of a say in how the team attacks the problems, and how it will compete. 

Frequently Asked Questions & Their Answers

Question Answer
My child doesn't like one of the kids on his team, can we change teams? Would you ask that of a soccer league? Probably not, so we believe the greater lesson for kids lies in the idea that even though we don't get along with everyone on the team at all times, we can learn to work together for the common good.
My child really wants to work alone. Can she/he do that? We know that schools are teaching kids to work in isolation. They tell children that working together is cheating.  The STEM education movement is in opposition to this approach, but there is work to be done. One of the things that we have to do together is encourage our children to work with others.
We are going to miss practice this week, because of (insert reason here). Can we make it up on a different day? If the team practices on Wednesday, then coming in on Thursday would do no good, since the team won't be there. Players miss practices, and the team will do everything in their power to catch kids up when they return. It's just like missing a sports team practice.

Should We Join a Robotics Team?

The reasons to join a robotics team are many! As I mentioned above, schools are squashing childrens' need to work together. The current testing frenzy has teachers and schools scrambling to direct students to work in complete isolation. Problem solving, teamwork, sharing of ideas and resources are out the window. 

Having your children working with others on a team will be challenging and ultimately rewarding. Your children will face new challenges, successes, setbacks, and awesome experiences that they cannot get elsewhere. 

We also know that STEM education is paramount to leading our children into a world where STEM jobs are growing in numbers and in compensation. Kids who develop STEM skills eventually write their own futures.


Tags: robotics, stem, stem education, robotics teams

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