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Roles Question

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  • Roles Question

    Hi, on our team we do not really have roles. We believe that all the children should have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the program. So, they all build, they all program, they all work on the project, and, of course, Core Values. For the robot game, they have micro-teams of two to three which focus programming and building attachments for a particular mission. All of the children are on one of these teams. During the project and Core Values, there are times when one set is working on gluing items to the board, and others are working on building a prototype. But, when they are asked in competition, "What is your role and what is the role of the teammate standing next to you?" they really don't have a good answer. They can answer what they are good at or what they have done, but cannot say, "I am a programmer and she is in charge of the project board". How do your teams handle this? Do we have to label them something for them to score well? Or can they say that they all take part in all of the activities of the team?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    Re: Roles Question

    The short answer is that how your team is organized is just fine. I think how your team is functioning works well for many groups.
    How to sell that approach to the judges probably merits a longer answer.
    There was a thread recently that discussed this issue. I'll try to find it and post a link here.


    • #3
      Re: Roles Question

      Here's the thread on "Role definition" from a few months ago.


      • #4
        Re: Roles Question

        The thread Tim linked to has some good thoughts.

        I would add that roles don't need to be static. My team might change roles 2 or 3 times during a practice. The key is that at any time the kids each know what they are doing. At the beginning of a practice they'll say, "you two go work on the project poster, you two practice robot runs, and you work on a better solution for the beehive mission." After 45 minutes they'll take a break and might make strategic changes (kid A being disruptive to robot group, so find him a new job with the project), or just shift everybody around depending on what they want to work on. Kids without a clear role tend to screw around and distract the team. About half of the kids tend to end up with a specialty (building, programming, or project solution) based on an aptitude or interest, but others are more general purpose.


        • #5
          Re: Roles Question

          My team is organized very similar to the OPs. In the past, we've not scored well on that section of the Core Values Rubric. Last year, my team was annoyed at that and, unknown to me until afterwards, right before they went into the Core Values session at our final tournament, they assigned each person a title. Some of the titles were based on skills and aptitude, some were based on "this person needs a title". And they scored well on the rubric. Right or wrong, the strategy resulted in better scores.

          This last Saturday we had our first tournament of the season. My team decided to answer the question about roles with saying that everyone did some of everything. They described how they're broken up into groups of two or three to work on the robot game with each group focusing on a couple of missions as agreed upon by the team. We work hard to make sure that everyone programs (sometimes I have to command that a student WILL NOT TOUCH THE COMPUTER! to make that happen..don't think they mentioned that), everyone builds, everyone sets up and runs programs. For the project, everyone did research and helped create the card game that we designed. There were a few more specialized roles for that as one student primarily wrote the script, one student drew one type of cards another came up with and drew another type, one designed the card backs, another the box, etc but I'm not sure they got into that.
          Apparently the Core Values judges got it and the team scored very well (two exemplary and one accomplished). Whether it helped or hurt us that we had our Core Values judged sessions the first slot of the day I don't know. But we were all very pleased with the scores.
          Fort Worth Robotics - North Texas Region Team #455
          Technical coach, baker of the cookies, keeper of the time, transporter of the travel field walls, finder of the spare parts, maker of the pop culture references that only the other tall people understand, conflict resolution specialist, grey market Lego dealer