Lessons We Have Learned Over the Year

Rookie Team FYRE #5480 would like to share with you some of the lessons we learned during this, our rookie year. The sheer volume of what we learned can not be posted on a webpage, or on facebook, or even written in a book. FIRST teaches so many things, some of which we will not realize we learned for a while yet, some are more obvious, like how to use a saw and a wrench. Most of all, being a part of FIRST at the FRC level taught us that we can not only build a robot we are proud of, but we can bring a community together and show them just what kids can do when given the right opportunity and the awesome mentors you find when you embark on this adventure of “the hardest fun you will ever have.” Below are some lesson that members of our team learned during this season. We hope that you find them useful.


One of our first responsibilities was to form a team. We learned that forming an FRC team is like forming a small business. Every team member has responsibilities and tasks that they need to complete to have the team reach success. When we first started our team, many of us did not know each other. We had to learn how to communicate and get along with each other to reach a common goal.

FRC is really about problem solving when faced with a challenge and a strict deadline. Teams discover the need to rely on one another to complete required tasks to make the team a success. A team is made up of many areas to be successful: Design/Build, Mechanical, Programming, Electrical, Parts, Safety, Drive Team, Pit Crew, Scouting, Safety, Marketing, Fundraising, Outreach, Media, etc. -Logan


I learned how to cooperate with people and the values of working as a team rather than just on my own.

Although rookie teams want to focus on the robot, there are more aspects to the competition. Rookie teams should try and focus more on team spirit, their websites, outreach, an established team safety procedure, and establishing connections with the community. -Tim


I better learned how to organize, plan, and create things while still working with others as a team and being open to new ideas.

I gained confidence in talking to people, explaining my ideas, and leading others through processes. By talking to my teammates, prospective members, and sponsors, I fine-tuned my communication, problem-solving, and persuasive speech skills. I became a better part of a team. -Wendy


I learned that jobs have to be done at some point, and although they may be painstaking, it helps to not complain and do them as quickly as possible. I also learned that it is very important to designate those jobs to the people who can complete them efficiently.

Our team learned that although you may have clashing ideas with another member, arguing is not the answer and will accomplish nothing. Instead, the team should have an organized meeting where everyone states their ideas and goes over the pros and cons of each. – Si Chiang


I learned that working in a team, and as a team, having to rely on other people, getting to know them and to trust them, is so much better than doing anything alone. When you work as a team, you become part of something bigger than any one person – and that’s amazing. – Riley


The Biggest lesson that our team had to learn was teamwork. A lot of us came into this program used to working independently, and many of us wanted to accomplish tasks on our own. However, a project of this scale necessitates teamwork to a great degree, whether it be on design, building, testing, or troubleshooting. Nothing could be done alone, really, so working together had to become the focus of the team, and I think that our robot stands as a symbol for the efforts that we put in as a team.

Another major lesson learned is that nothing gets done problem free. While some parts of the build season may go better than others, there will always be something that comes up to challenge you as you work towards accomplishing your goal. Problems could include simple parts failures, like our Pneumatics Control Module this year, or that a design cannot work because gravity is a thing. There will always be hurdles along the way in a project, and overcoming them is an amazing reward in of itself. – Thomas


I learned how fast a deadline can creep up on us. Building a robot and recording the design changes while researching and planning the other aspects of the season took a lot more time than any of us could have thought and we were down to the wire on almost everything. To combat this, we learned how to manage our time and divide tasks among groups that we created to tackle the various tasks we had to complete. I also learned how many steps there are to manufacturing a design and how quickly a design that looks good on paper can fail in real life. -Richard


I learned that alone, I am capable of many amazing things, but working with a team, we are all capable of accomplishments that we never dreamed of.

I learned that engineering is not a one man task, that the myth of the lone genius is just that: a myth. Instead, engineering, problem solving, running a team, it’s a team sport. You need multiple to make it work, and you need communication skills. Engineers are stereotyped as fumbling antisocial nerds that can’t explain their work to anyone, not even another engineer. However, that is not the case. Rather, engineers have to be able to clearly and concisely express their ideas and considerations to be good at their jobs, and FYRE taught me how to do that. – Connor


When starting a team, fundraise before build season starts – trying to design and build a robot is hard enough, but having to go and find funds so that you have enough money to buy parts in the middle of it all adds another layer of stress that you just don’t need.

Students have an amazing ability to learn new things and grow as individuals when given the chance to express their ideas and work with caring adults to reach a lofty goal. – a parent


Finding a few dedicated adult mentors who understand the FIRST values is the key to success.

When the mentors and other adult helpers take a step back and let the student team members make the decisions when it comes to designing and building the robot the kids get so much more out of it than when the mentors make the major decisions about the robot. It is hard, but it is worth it. – Coach Kerry