One of the hardest parts of managing a large team is scheduling. The more kids and individual families you have, the more complicated it gets. When can everyone meet? When can they come to the field trip? Here are my thoughts on what works for a FIRST LEGO League team.

Be Consistent

Try to keep meetings to the same time each week and let everyone know the time/date when they sign up to be on the team. This avoids confusion and allows kids to move their other activities around the robotics meetings at the start of the season. Letting parents know well in advance results in well attended meetings. We have found that kids who do not attend meetings regularly, are less engaged with the whole team and the program.

Create a Google Groups for your team

It is free and easy to set up. Just ask for all the email addresses of the kids. Google Groups allows teams to have an easy and free mailing list with no limits on the number of participants. You can set up a separate one for just the parents or a combined one for everyone together. My team used a list with just the kids to distribute homework and discuss and share resources they found for their research project. Even today, my team uses a Google Group to communicate with users of

Create and share a Google Calendar

It is also free. By using a group calendar, you eliminate confusions as to when and where the team is meeting. The students can indicate their availability. Such group communication tools will help your team keep organized.

Scheduling is one of the hardest challenges for a coach.

Create a Google Form as needed

Collecting data from a large team can be a nuisance. What shirt size does each person need? Can they come to the field trip on a Friday? Google Forms are free, easy, and have no limits on the number of questions you can ask. You can share the data with everyone as well. My team makes extensive use of Google Forms to collect survey data for their project, but also to collect information about teams coming to their outreach events and more.### Internet Access

As the students on the team get more experience and get older, the goal would be to have them manage these scheduling tools themselves. I realize this might be a challenge with 4th graders and kids who do not have email access. My own kids are very active online and manage their own lists. It seems that schools are using many of these online tools by Middle School so early exposure is not a bad thing. I do always recommend some adult supervision for online activity just in case.

Asha Seshan   Mom of Seshan Brothers.