Hey teams and Team Leads, how’s it going? 👋 We’re seeing plenty of teams get creative with building a team and running sessions while protective measures are in place. Here’s a bunch of genius ideas that could help your team make a strong start this season. If you’re a team please ensure you continue to follow the guidance set by your school or youth group before exploring any of these ideas.
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This one’s pop-ular 😉. Many schools are working in year group bubbles to reduce contact between students. If your school or youth group cannot form teams across year groups this season, consider building a new team with a mixture of experiences, skills and interests within the same year group. As your team develops, think about how you can pass on knowledge to other year groups who could join the team next year using virtual presentations, peer mentoring, video calls or other creative ways.
Some inventive teams are creating mini sub-teams within year groups who focus on a different element of the challenge. For example, one sub-team may focus on managing social media, fundraising and developing the team’s brand and awareness, another sub-team may focus on design, prototyping and engineering the robot, while a third sub-team may develop the programming to make sure the robot is responsive and easy to control. Documenting each team’s progress in the online Engineering Notebook is super important when the team is separated.
There are teams working hard to engage as much young people as possible this year and are splitting the challenge into phases delivered by different teams. This approach is common in industry, for example, a research team may pass on insights to development team who create concepts using these insights, they’ll share their work with a design or engineering team to make and test these concepts and the loop continues.
This is a smart way to have focused chunks of time and more people with the right skills to complete the project. Time management is important here!
Some teams without after school options are choosing to meet over a few lunches a week. Arranging shorter sessions makes it easier for team members to attend and encourages teams to be more productive with their time. If you want efficiency and have the available space and supervision, lunchtimes are a savvy idea to try.
If you’re unable to share team responsibilities across different groups, perhaps building a smaller team will alleviate the pressure and allow every young person involved to take on a clear set of responsibilities. Smaller team sizes work well for groups with diverse skillsets and qualities that make them fab all-rounders. You could also recruit extra help later in the season when you need it too!
If you don’t want any of your previous team members to miss out this year, why not build an extra team? You’ll get to support each other with friendly competition, all while growing engagement across your school to become even stronger next year. Win-win.
You may have some more experienced team members who are happy to mentor a younger team throughout the season using video calls or another form of remote communication. This peer-mentoring approach especially helps students continue to support at a lighter level if they are in their exam years and need more study time, or no longer want to be part of the core team.
Your school or youth group may not be able to meet up just yet and that’s cool, we’re still in the pre-season so anything goes! In the meantime, you could think about hosting a few virtual team building sessions, so that when your team meets up for the first time, you can hit the ground running with a strong team.
That’s it! We’re sure there are lots of ways to host sessions and form teams this season. If you have any ideas we haven’t included, hit the blue chat bubble on this page or Makerspace, or DM us on Instagram or Twitter.
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Liking these tips? Great! 😃 Keep your eyes peeled for more guidance on how to build an inclusive team.