Historically our team has been led by our coach and mentors. This year our coach selected a leadership council to head up five areas of the team, with the idea of moving toward a student-run organization. One council member was chosen by the rest of the council to oversee the meetings and the team in general. This leader met with our coach weekly to talk about leadership and strategies to make the most of the team and each individual member. The council then met weekly, with our coach using First Break all the Rules ( Buckingham and Coffman, 1999) to teach leadership and management skills through recognition of talent and human nature. The council then worked through objectives and strategies for their assigned departments–programming, electronics, fabrication, public relations, and safety.
INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP WORK
In order to hone and identify skills and talents, our coach came up with possible challenges our robot would have to meet, for example, throwing an object or hanging from a bar. Each member was tasked with designing on paper or graph paper a model and make it to mathematical specifications, from side view and top view. This was also done in groups. Our coach use the Socratic method to help us in this process, revealing the math behind engineering. Ideas were presented and the team and mentors would offer suggestions. The next task was building prototypes and testing them. Often two or three alternate ideas were presented and worked on until they were successful or deemed impossible. Through all of this the team learned the process of making an idea into a working product, so they could attack the build season challenge with confidence and able to work together well,
During our build season, engineering notebooks were introduced with lined and graph paper in order record ideas and “what I would do differently” feedback. Through the entire process the team works together, filling in roles when members are absent, and doing what needs to be done. In this, each member of the team is able to see the big picture of our robotics program and will be able to articulate how our robot works at our tournaments.