FIRST LEGO League to other FIRST programs

The following discussion is quoted from the Facebook Group FLL: Share & Learn .

What skills can FLLers pick up that will help them in FTC/FRC? What are benefits of already having been in FLL before progressing to the other programs?

Response by Celina McGinnis

Knowing how to manage Autonomous programming. Strategically can give you an edge.

Response by Karen Cooke

The experience of working with judges, public speaking, core values, and the team work aspect. Lots really. We had a rookie FTC team last year that I think it did so well because they had prior FLL experience. Also the mindstorm software teaches some of the major concepts of programming to prepare them for other languages. For loops, etc

Response by Vicky Zhai

To give a little background info, I competed in FLL for two years in 2013-2015. My team graduated onto FTC and is now based out of Los Angeles as a third-year team. The majority of our team members have prior FIRST experience from FLL. That serves as a huge advantage as we are already familiar with the important aspect of Core Values. Having been together as a team since FLL helped immensely with our transition to FTC as the foundation of trust is already built among team members. As a result of our years in FLL, we have been able to establish several connections with other teams and people within the FIRST community. To answer the discussion question:

FTC values the detail documentation of the engineering process. Judges are interested to learn how the robot has evolved and improved by looking through the team’s Engineering Journal. This journal essentially replaces the “research project” that FLL teams are required to do. FLL teams have a glimpse of that process as they work on their themed project, which requires intense research and documentation. Having been exposed to that process will aid transitioning teams to have a better grasp at the Engineering Journal.

FLL teams who have experience in reaching out to their communities through events and demos will find themselves having an easier time transitioning into FTC. FTC places a strong emphasis on outreach and sharing the importance of STEM and FIRST. FLL teams who are active in their communities will learn how to become a better public speaker, a skill extremely beneficial to FTC. Leading onto the next point, being at outreach events also helped our team gain connection to other FLL/FTC teams. This provided our team a chance establish a long term partnership/ friendship with other teams.

Although FTC does not embed Core Values as part of the competition, FLL teams have a head start because they are familiar with the term “Gracious Professionalism.” FLL teams understand that robot and project are not the most important aspects of the competition; it is honoring the spirit of the competition by showing an understanding of Core Values and Gracious Professionalism. Recognizing this FIRST culture will be a huge advantage for FLL teams as they make their transition onto FTC.

I’ve noticed a comment in the another post discussing time management issues. Because FTC does have a shorter build period, it’s harder for FLL teams to adjust. One of the ways our team dealt with that was by having better team communication online and getting everyone on the same page prior to attending a meeting. Our team has recently launched a “meeting prep” tab online where we identify our task for the next meeting. We figure that this would allow team members to have a better focus and understanding as to what tasks need to be completed. Here’s also where the role of leadership comes in. Having a student leader/captain be on top of deadlines will greatly help the team learn their role and how they may help in meeting those deadlines.

Response by Gloria Gibson

Time management, GP (was sad how many teams lacked this!), confidence for judging sessions, understanding of community outreach, I also think understanding that you can be good at one area and still contribute to the team and that not everyone can program/drive etc. helps.

Response by Teresa Smalley

Learning more about documentation of your process and getting to practice GP. Agreed, we noticed that some teams did not understand the FIRST Core Values. When we transitioned 3 years ago that was the biggest issue for us. But, the more teams who openly discuss the importance of the core values the better things will get. Getting to meet more teams from around the country and world has been the best.