Jim and I have been working for a couple months on a new book which we've just released - the NXT Robotics Competition Workbook. Combining Jim's experience as an FLL judge and coach of robotics activities for kids, and my experience of being on a new FLL team which won the Robot Performance and Innovative Robot awards at the World Festival, we've written a 93 page hands-on guide to help both new and experienced teams have a better performance in their competition. From forming good team structure, to building and programming a competition robot, to brainstorming and testing problems, we try to give teams a little bit of everything. A few of the chapters include:
Assigning Team Roles: This chapter gives advice on assigning team roles to members - from Team Captain to Robot Recovery Manager, it's helpful to give memebrs specific responsibilities to make sure everything gets done smoothly and efficiently.
Designing the Chassis: Most robots start with a chassis, so this chapter gives several tips on making one that gives your robot the mobility and accuracy it needs.
Sensor vs. Motor Navigation: With the built-in rotation sensors, programming your robot's navigation purely with motor commands is sometimes a good strategy. But sensors are also great for making your robot more accurate. This chapter gives advice on when to use the different methods, as well as the pros and cons of each.
Brainstorming Sessions: It's helpful to have team brainstorming sessions when working on a challenge or trying to solve a challenge. This chapter gives lots of advice on how to run these sessions and make them successful.
The Worksheets: At the back of the book are 10 worksheets the team can use to help organize their thoughts, make decisions, make a time budget, keep track of programs, and much more! These sheets are what makes this a hands-on workbook.
Here is the Outline for the workbook:
II. Managing the Team
a. Assigning Team Roles - Organizing Building and Programming Teams
b. Scheduling - developing a realistic schedule, 6 Tasks to get a team from start to finish
III. Constructing a Competition Robot
a. Good Construction Habits - documenting, cloning, inventorying your supplies
b. Designing the Chassis - developing a modular and stable base for your robot
c. Building Attachments - sensor usage, best locations, "funnels" and modularization
IV. Programming the Competition Robot
a. Sensor versus Motor Navigation - pros and cons of different methods for movement
b. Good Programming Habits - backups, version control, filenaming
a. Brainstorming Sessions - rules, documentation, time limits, getting started
b. Testing Your Work - incremental testing, guidelines for documenting, bug tracking
c. Building Team Unity - respect, team values, sharing
a. 10 worksheets (permission to reproduce worksheets for use by your team)
b. Worksheet titles include "Manage Team 1", "Manage Team 2", "Team Time Availability", "Time Log", "Chassis Guidelines", "Chassis Sketchpad", "Program Tracking", "Elements of the Program", "Brainstorm Session" and "Testing"
You can find the Workbook on our Cafepress Storefront, under Workbooks.