banner I have been a Lego League coach since 2007. This year, I wanted to document the season to give rookie coaches a resource to help them through to competition. The process can be intense, but it can also be a lot of fun for you and your team.

I hope to cover enough through my posts, but if I leave anything out, please feel free to leave a comment, or contact me.
Sep
1st

Putting the Field Kit Together

Author: fllCoach | Files under The Game
  • Sort pieces by size (large vs. small) and by color
  • Print out instructions
  • Dedicate one team meeting to building the field kit [Take pictures!]
  • Split the team into pairs that aren’t friends
  • If you are missing pieces, look in another bin, or take a break and look again later
  • Finish whatever isn’t done with your child
  • Learn the missions
  • Label missions points with garage sale button stickers
  • Have field kit put together on the mat for the next meeting and go over missions with the team

I read that the field kits for this year’s competition have already begun to ship. This is what you paid for with your $65 fee when you registered. You’ll get two packages in the mail: a box in the shape of a long triangular prism, and a box that sounds like a Christmas present that was broken into pieces when you shake it.

The triangular prism box contains the competition mat. This is what your robot will run on and will have Lego structures attached to it. Your robot will travel the mat to complete the tasks that the organizers designed. If you pay attention, you will get an idea of the lessons in the tasks. For instance, in the year where the research topic was climate change, the robot had to remove a pick up truck and replace it with a car. In other words, exchange vehicles for something more fuel efficient. There are good teaching moments in the mat, so use them to your advantage.

The second box contains all the pieces to build the field kit models including a CD with all the instructions. If you were to build all the structures yourself, it would probably take you about 8-10 hours. Don’t. Let the kids do it. After all, many of your team members probably joined to build stuff with Legos. So let them.

Print out the instructions and designate one entire meeting just for building the models. I find that if you sort all the pieces into different containers by size (large vs. small) and by color, it will help everyone find what they need. Do this before the meeting.

I usually divide the team into pairs to put the models together (if you have an odd number of kids, you can pair up with one of them). It’s best to not pair up friends so that the team gets to know each other. Watch them, though, because many times one of the pair ends up finding pieces while the other builds. Some kids are fine with just looking for parts, but make sure they both get a chance to build if they want to. Pair up kids that don’t know each other. This will foster cooperation between strangers which helps as part of the team building process. Make sure you take pictures during the meeting.

If a kid is looking for a particular piece and can’t find it, have them look in a different bin. It’s likely there somewhere. The organizers are very good at including everything you need. You might even have a few extra pieces when you’re done. Pieces can be very hard to find sometimes. If you’ve searched a long time and still can’t find what you’re looking for, put it in the back of your mind and work on a different build. You’ll likely find it when you’re looking for a different piece. Or, it will be one of the last pieces left. When I find the piece later, I always wonder how I didn’t see it in the first place.

You’ll likely have things left over to build at the end of the meeting. I wouldn’t commit more than one meeting to the build, so if you don’t finish, complete the models with your child (good bonding time), or have team members come before the next meeting to finish them up.

By the next meeting, have the mat and models all put together. Your team will learn where everything goes as they work on their tasks. Use a dining room table, a living room floor, or build a competition table to house it. Learn the tasks your robot will need to perform and put point stickers (garage sale button stickers work well) on each structure. Then go over each task with your team at the next meeting.

Lots of coaches put the field kit together themselves. But that takes away the chance for the kids to have some fun before the work begins in earnest. It would also miss an opportunity to allow the team to get to know each other. As coach, you’ll start to see how each child works and what their personality is like. You’ll be surprised what you can learn about each team member if you just watch them for a few minutes. It will help you match kids up for tasks later on.


6 responses. Wanna say something?

  1. Pebblekeper - Angie
    Sep 28, 2010 at 14:08:52
    #1

    The field kit comes with velcro tabs. Does this go where ever a square with an x is on it?

  2. fllCoach
    Sep 29, 2010 at 09:09:16
    #2

    Angie,

    Yes, the DualLock squares (the 3M version of velcro) go on the squares with the X’s. Stick a DualLock square on the X, then attach another DualLock square on top of it with the sticky side up. Once you’ve done that for all the squares in one model, line the model up and push down on all the square spots. The top DualLock squares will now come off with the model.

    That’s the best method to use to get all the DualLock squares on the right spots on the models. The field kit set up instructions should have this tip in it as well in case I didn’t describe the process well enough.

  3. Pebblekeper - Angie
    Sep 29, 2010 at 10:42:45
    #3

    Thanks for answering! I just now saw that I didn’t print out the Field Setup Instructions to put in my binder. 🙂 There is a section there on Dual Lock. 🙂 Thanks. 🙂 http://www.firstlegoleague.org/uploadedFiles/Challenge_Specific/Body_Forward/Body%20Forward%20-%20Field%20Setup.pdf

  4. Jennifer
    Sep 24, 2011 at 17:56:30
    #4

    We just got the 2011 setup kit. They are divided into bags already. Isn’t that by design? Do I need to open all the little bags and sort by color and shape? Or just one bag at a time, build that one, then open another bag?

  5. fllCoach
    Sep 24, 2011 at 20:11:12
    #5

    The models are not divided by bag. You will need to open all the bags in order to find the pieces for each model. Remember, if you can’t find a particular piece, try to go on or work on another model and look for it again later. The piece will always show up.

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