- Read through the event rules thoroughly with the students and understand the expectations of the event.
- Make a list of the reading and study materials that will be required. Plan trips to the library or bookstore. . For events like Amphibians, books should be checked out from the library or purchased, a field trip to a museum could be lined up, a local expert might be located who can answer questions unanswered by the books.
- Make a list of equipment that will be needed for lab or build-it events. Many of the materials can be found in the family home while other materials like a microscope or balance may need to be borrowed.
- Arrange meeting times with the students to get together and practice for the event. In the case of a built-it event like Boomilever or Tower, this time will be used for construction and calibration. Built-it events are a good opportunity to introduce students to basic hand tools, construction techniques and shop safety. For a lab event like Mystery Architecture, a coach can put together sample problems to give the student a feel for competition. When many students are preparing for the same event, the students themselves can pose sample problems for each other easing the work load on the coach. Paper and pencil events like Road Scholar require that practice quizzes be composed for the students. The frequency of the meetings can be from every week to every month depending upon the competitiveness of the individuals.
- Insist that each student keep a study notebook to organize and summarize their research and findings.
- The event coaches are not alone in their efforts. The other event coaches in Boise are willing to share tips and techniques. Although the students may compete, the coaches collaborate to increase the quality of the competition. Call Gary Carlson, to get in contact with other coaches. Or try the internet at www.soinc.org
- Finally, some events have more students than there are spots available. In this situation the coach needs to put together an intramural or other way to pick the students to compete in the event. The remaining students might be assigned to another school team or find space in under-represented events.
Coaching the Build-It Events