What are the benefits of particiating in FIRST LEGO League? What skills witll the children learn? How can we, as coaches, help them achieve these skills? These are the questions that I tackle in this Coach’s Corner.
FIRST LEGO League teams spend a lot of time in the program. So the first question that comes to mind is Why do we spend so much time doing this? What are the benefits?
Through FIRST LEGO League, team members will:
1) learn about robotics
2) learn to build and program
3) learn engineering skills
3) learn to work as a team
4) develop research skills
5) develop presentation skills
6) learn to negotiate
7) learn the importance of cooperation (Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism)
8) learn how to communicate with experts, judges, and each other
9) learn to set goals
10) learn to deal with deadines and cruch time
11) learn to cope with failure
Our job as coaches is to support and guide the team so they can make progress on all of these things in a fun environment.
There is a lot of pressure and frustration built into the challenges of FLL – it is by design, to teach the kids to make hard trade offs and to keep working even though things will never be “perfect.” Keeping things fun in the pressure-cooker that is FLL is not always easy, but we can try!
Coaches can provide instruction in general towards each goal and then the team will apply that knowledge to their FLL work. For example, we will teach them presentation and communication skills, and let them apply those skills when they create their FLL presentations.
Communication with the judges is possibly the most important part of meeting this goal, so learning communication and presentation skills is essential. It is easy for the presentations to get left to the last minute, but they are too important to let that happen. The judges can’t know how much your team has accomplished unless your team is effective in communicating that with them!