- Break team into pairs or 3s to complete missions
- Pair up experienced and inexperienced together
- Pair outgoing kids together and shy kids together
- Don’t put friends together
- Don’t be afraid to adjust sub-teams as season goes on
Between the project and the robot programming, there is a lot to do. When it comes to the programming missions, I usually break my team into pairs and have each pair pick one or two missions to try to complete. Those same pairs can work on pieces of the project, or you can set different pairs for the project. You also don’t have to do pairs. If you have an odd number of kids sub-teams of 3 can also work well. How you divide up the team is the tricky part.
There are few things to consider when assigning sub-teams. In the past, I have paired experience with inexperience. That allows all sub-teams to be at somewhat the same level. If you put two experienced team members together and two inexperienced team members together, the experienced team will have their tasks done before the inexperienced team will even get off the ground.
But you should also consider how you think the team members will work together. This has a lot to do with personalities. Last year, I reassigned two sub-teams because both pairs had a strong personality and a shy personality. The strong personalities were taking over and doing everything. So I switched them up and put the strong personalities together and they kind of cancelled each other out. The shy personalities worked well together and now are really good friends.
The last thing I consider is friendships. I don’t put friends together. Part of the point of joining a team is to meet new people. Forcing them to work with someone they don’t know too well helps the team get to know each other which will help your teamwork score.
Don’t be afraid to adjust your sub-teams as the season goes on. You could find, after a few weeks, that some teams aren’t working well together. But do it sooner rather than later. You don’t want to let the teams get too far on their missions or it could do more damage than good.