Boost FLL Scores and Skills with Robotics Training Mats

Monday, May 1, 2017

Training mats can be a big expense! As a new coach, I was shocked to discover training mats can cost $100-$200 per mat. Sets that are bundled with curriculum cost even more.

Are training mats really worth the extra expense?  

Absolutely yes! Since adding the training exercises into our team and camp time, I've seen much larger gains in skill sets and confidence. Here's why:

#1/ If you are a new coach, a bundled set will save you so much time! I'd strongly recommend a bundled set such as NASA Mission to Mars. The curriculum, building guides, training programs, and mission challenges are all included. You save a ton of time going this route! Instead of having to create all your training exercises, Lego Education has done all the work for you.

#2/ It is easy for different students to work on building different skills at the same time. Each training mat in the Mission to Mars set is about one-third the size of a First Lego League challenge mat. This makes it easy to spread out all three mats at once on a FLL-sized table. One group of students can be working on the sonic sensor, another with the gyroscope, etc. This prevents a backlog of students waiting to test their programs, keeping all students much more focused on task and actively learning. 

By working on one specific skill at a time, students build confidence and mastery.

#3/ Students can focus on learning a skill first, then apply it to a mission challenge with confidence. Once skills are built, students will automatically start recognizing what skills are useful for solving specific missions! This two step approach (training mat first, then mission application) has really strengthened my team's confidence and skills. It's worth adding to your budget for next season. 

If you already use training mats, which are your favorite? Please share! 

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