Coaches/Teachers: Helpful Hints for Coaches and Teachers



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Helpful Hints for Coaches and Teachers

The Coach as Facilitator

Who can be a coach?

  • Anyone over the age of 18 years old.
  • Teachers, parents or guardians, youth organization leaders, business people and community members are eligible to participate.

What are the coach's responsibilities?

  • Facilitate one or more teams.
  • Submit the Team Member Information Sheet for each team.
  • Chaperone the team if the team is selected to attend the National Championship Event.

What are the coach's primary objectives?

  • Facilitate brainstorming sessions to help identify and narrow ideas for topics.
  • Help teams identify what makes an issue a "community problem." How are people truly affected? Is the problem ongoing?
  • Remind teams that science and technology must play a role in their solution.
  • Guide the team to use sound scientific methods.

How can the coach help the team protect its ideas?

By documenting the project. This is important for several reasons:

  • To make sure students have a complete record of all their ideas and the project history.
  • To make sure students have a record of what works and what doesn't work.
  • To make sure students can rely on the information in the documentation notebook to reproduce their work.
  • The information in the notebooks may be used to pursue patent protection, if the idea is new, useful and not obvious. (Refer to the Student Guide for detailed documentation information.)

How else can the coach assist a team?

  • Create meeting schedules and set work deadlines.
  • Suggest resources for researching the team's topic.
  • Help the team locate or pick up materials for constructing the entry.
  • Review the final entry to check for grammatical errors, clarity and compliance with the rules.

What is the coach prohibited from doing?

  • Conducting research on behalf of the team.
  • Creating any section of the entry.

Facilitating a Brainstorming Session

Why brainstorming?

  • Young people usually need help identifying and narrowing ideas for topics.
  • It promotes creativity.
  • It draws out the participation of all the team members or a whole class.

How does a coach facilitate a session?

  • Encourage kids to think beyond the obvious.
  • Allow only one person to speak at a time.
  • Remind the group that arguments waste time and are counter-productive.
  • All comments should be positive. Do not allow censorship.
  • Keep a running list of ideas and then eliminate ideas the group decides are not useful.
  • Conduct more in-depth discussions on the most promising ideas.