These past two weeks have been very interesting. I met with all three of the teams mentioned in the previous post as well as combing the web for any teams talking about their team structure and learning systems. The results were very surprising. From talking with all three teams the main factors that they assert are integral to their success are as follows:
- HUGE amounts of time in the lab during the FRC season(from early January to early April). By huge amounts of time, I mean huge. These teams work until 8pm to 12am every day once the main season starts.
- Mentor assistance was the other factor very high on the list of most important pieces of a team’s success. Each of these teams have significant mentor support during their season. For team 95, they have about a 2:1 student to mentor ratio. For context, we have about a 20:1 student to mentor ratio. This is important partially because these mentors can work on the robot and with kids at a lot higher capacity than our team. Since they are so hands on in the process, they constitute the majority of the knowledge base of the team.
The big takeaway from these two major factors is that the mentors guide the team through the season. The students are a tiny part of leadership and deciding team direction. What this means in the context of my curriculum is that I am creating something entirely new. I went into these conversations looking for what mentors teach kids before the season starts to get a jump start on the season. It seems that most high level teams don’t do this because of the high amount of mentor support. This isn’t only based on these conversations either. There are interviews with other top teams, 118 an 148, that are available on youtube. A similar mentor guided building process was expressed there. Since all other teams competing at a high level solve the generational knowledge using mentors, I will essentially be designing a video curriculum to simulate a mentor.
I was also unable to glean much in the way of teaching practices out of these teams as most of them simply don’t have any formal training for their students. This leaves a lot of the actual course content decisions up to my discretion, meaning I need to do a whole lot more research and planning! Woohoo!
I have finished the demo video for my content and it is ready for feedback. I unfortunately can’t share it as it is not hosted on youtube or vimeo yet, but I will as soon as possible! This week(week of 9/26/2022) I have begun reaching out to teams nearby as well as back out to team 95 to get feedback on possible improvements to the format/production quality of the video.
Now that I have a starting point for my research, the next step is to design the full video content and order for the curriculum. I don’t yet have a time estimate on this but I will likely be reaching out to more teams as well as talking to our own members to plan this out. For now, thanks for reading and expect more updates in the near future!