VRC Teams

INTRODUCTION

Youth participate in the VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) as part of a team working towards the goal of building a robot to compete in the current year’s challenge and the Online Challenges. The teams are usually advised by a teacher, parent, industry volunteer, or college student.

GETTING STARTED

The essential elements for a team are some robot parts, a young person, and an adult coach. Most VRC teams have 4-7 youth members, but some have only one member and others have 10 or more. VRC teams are from public and private schools, regional tech centers, 4-H, Scouts, science museums, and sometimes just some friends and a parent. There aren’t many rules for how to put teams together, so get some youth together and get them started.

There are many great support resources available for new teams:

FINDING AND REGISTERING FOR EVENTS

Teams use RobotEvents.com to register, as well as find and register for events. Most regional events are a single day, while some large events may run two to four days. There are several kinds of events:

  • Workshops familiarize youth and adult participants with the VEX Robotics platform and the VRC.
  • Scrimmages are like tournaments without giving trophies or other awards.
  • Official tournaments use all the VRC rules, declare winners and give awards. Except for certain championship tournaments, official VRC events are open to all registered VRC teams.
  • VEX Worlds qualifying tournaments, such as state, provincial, national and regional championships, are a special type of official tournament, from which one or more teams will earn an invitation to VEX Worlds.
  • VRC Leagues take place over several weeks, with a series of “mini-tournaments” replacing the long single-day event. Not all regions have leagues so contact your local REC Foundation regional manager for details.

VRC events are organized and run by local volunteers who agree to follow program standards. If you are interested in running an event, please read our VRC Event Partners page.

LEARNING

VRC competitions are fun and exciting experiences for everyone. As a participant you will compete with your robot against others and demonstrate your great machine. Typical events are on Saturdays with a full day of activities that may include workshops to build better robots. You will see some exciting Competition Videos online, and can learn about the current VRC game here. For more educational resources see our document, “Professional Development Guide for VEX/STEM Educators.”

The VEX Robotics Curricula options are powerful tools for robot design and building, and are just as relevant to competition teams as they are in the classroom.

ONLINE CHALLENGES

VEX Robotics and the REC Foundation offer several Online Challenges, a great way to get more students involved with STEM robotics activities. They reward students for building websites, creating promotional videos, learning about computer-aided design, and several other STEM areas. The Online Challenges may also qualify VRC teams for VEX Worlds and earn teams prizes of robotics hardware and software.

PREPARING FOR A TOURNAMENT

There are few things everyone should do to prepare their team or teams for a tournament. Many of these tips have been compiled in the document “101 Things I Wish I’d Known Before My First VEX Tournament.”

ENGINEERING NOTEBOOK

Engineering Notebooks provide teams with a document of their design decisions. Submission of an Engineering Notebook is required for teams wishing to be considered for the Design or Excellence Award at VEX Worlds. Although these notebooks do not have a specific format, several components should be in your Engineering Notebook. Of particular interest to the Judges is material relating to your team’s project, budget, resource, and time management. There are also things that should be left out: personal information, for example. We encourage you to use discretion. Remember, past notebooks can serve as a valuable institutional resource that teams can reference in the coming years as a means of keeping track of what does and doesn’t work. Please remember that Engineering notebooks should not be edited documents and that a bound notebook is preferred.

We have posted a top design notebook for your reference: Team 5327A

Team 4184G won the 2015 STEM Educational Video Challenge for this entry on how to create a great engineering notebook:

The best notebooks include the following:

  • Entries made on a regular basis
  • Diagrams accompanying the entries
  • Goals that are plainly stated
  • Accounts of the thought process behind key decisions
  • Records of measurements
  • A clear charting of team progress
  • An accurate inventory of parts
  • Thoughts regarding game-play and strategy
  • Documentation of missteps
  • External documents, such as Judge’s notes

SUPPORT

The VEX Forums are great team resources. Here you will be able to share experiences and ask questions to get the assistance you need to develop a great VEX Robotics program. The forum is divided into sections on robot design, programming, and team organization. Give the forums a look, you will find areas of interest to enhance your VEX Robotics Competition experience.

The VEX Forum is also your key resource for VEX Robotics product support. Some other important information on VEX Robotics is available on the support page.

TEAM RESOURCES