Hello ladies in FIRST. I’m from FRC Team 2656,
Quasics. I want to talk about the importance of FLL to our team. First of all, our team has two FLL teams: Team 53070 and Team 51258. We started FLL in 2020, and I’m going to tell you what I’ve found to be true.
As a former FLL student, I’m first going to talk
about the effect of FLL on the kids. I had zero interest in STEM before joining my FLL team, like none. I wasn’t opposed to the idea, I just didn’t take a liking to it. When I got the email about joining my school’s FLL team, I contemplated if it was something I wanted to do. I never really thought of robotics as a competitive thing, and I had to admit: it did sound intriguing. Like any teenager would do, I asked my friends if they were thinking about it. I found out that one of my friends was, and I decided to try it out. We had a few meetings over the Summer, and before I knew it, the game was out. There was something about finding an answer to a question that had never been answered before, that didn’t have a right or wrong answer, that kept a hold on me. This process, known by many as the engineering design process, changed my entire life trajectory. I started that summer without an interest in anything STEM related, and I came out of my eighth grade year wanting to pursue it as a career. Currently, I want to be a mechanical engineer, and I owe that all to robotics. Maybe not everyone has a story like this, but I am sure that everyone who does FLL takes away many skills. These include technical skills, public speaking skills, and most importantly teamwork. All of this can be achieved up to eleven years earlier than FRC!
Alright, now that I’ve dumped my life story on you,
let’s move on to the benefits FLL students and FRC teams get out of this. You may not realize it, but FLL actually does a great job at laying the foundational skills for FRC. In FLL Challenge, you get used to working with a team, building a bot and manipulators for a season-specific game, and presenting to judges. In addition to this, many FRC teams, including our own, run FLL teams. This means a smooth transition for FLL students and a sustainable flow of kids for the FRC team. Not every team member will necessarily join the high school team, but it has proved to be a pretty effective strategy for us.
The last substantial benefit is the experience we get out of this.
Currently, we have three FRC kids coaching the FLL students alongside our adult coaches. All of these student coaches have personally been through the FLL program, and this provides a unique perspective the adult coaches can’t provide. The FRC students are also taught how to lead, explain what they know to others, and teach younger kids. Because of all of this, I think FLL has been a great thing for us.
Building better humans, one robot at a time,
FRC Team 2656 Quasics
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