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Rules for Mentor

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  • Rules for Mentor

    Hello
    I'm new here and have a questions regarding the role of Mentor. My son has been in Robotics for 3 years now and loves it. This year the high school had a bridging program using vex IQ for 8th graders. There is only one Mentor. The Mentor is taking over design and working on the robot after mtgs at his his house instead with his son who is on the team. No other team members are present and the design is changed to mentors design. My understanding is that this is a student driven build and the Mentor should not be taking the robot home to work on outside of mtg times.
    I have talked with the Mentor regarding concerns. Have not received a straight answer. My son is very frustrated and wants to quit at this point. I'm really trying to get a straight answer about role of Mentor and what they can and can't do. Appreciate any and all help.

  • #2
    The rules are pretty clear that the roboteers are to build the robot. From the rules: Students are the individuals who design, build, repair, and program the Robot, with minimal adult assistance

    It sounds like your mentor and you have a different idea of what "minimal" means. In our group of 7 elementary school robots, the mentors assist with first build concepts (how the parts go together, helping when that axle that has three gears and 4 stoppers sliding into the motor mount by using another flat part to push so the axle doesn't stick into your hand, etc. They lead design ideas "So we have the basic clawbot, how can we make it better? A better claw? What would a better claw look like? Now that we've made the claw longer and bigger what happens when we pick up the hexball? Yes, it tips over, so what can we do about that? ...."

    Mentors are supposed to mentor, transfer knowledge, stop roboteers from doing things that would damage components, not letting build / design issues get far enough that everyone is frustrated and not having fun. etc. We all have our own styles and there has been lots of discussion on what the gray area is. Sometimes (in my opinion) it gets a little over the top (no, the mentor can't carry the robot, that shows the roboteers don't know enough about the robot to carry it ipso facto the mentor built the robot vs. I'm dealing with a cranky 5th grader that didn't go well in the last match so I'm carrying the robot, thanks for asking). So you are about to get a number of different opinions.

    It's unlikely that you are going to change your current mentor's attitude unless there are other parents that feel the same way. In your case you don't have a lot of recourse other than buying your own Superkit and doing your own team (maybe get the other parents to chip in)

    Good luck!



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    • #3
      It is a little tricky over the break now and never black and white in general (even though your experience would be too far on the dark side).
      I, for one, have the robots home now, but it's my 3 roboteers that work on them and our home is open to all team members to come over during the break for extra meetings.

      The free time over the break is too valuable to pass with robots locked up at school. So it's OK to take the robot home. It is absolutely not OK for a mentors to redesign the robot. The mentors shouldn't even push the design their way, though some influence is often present in a way of helping questions.

      Other part of the equation is that some teams have split roles. For the teaching part, I strive to have all the kids try everything, but usually only the subset of the team really builds the robot, not even getting into programming. But mentor standing in the way of participation, seriously?

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