The Team’s Solution is the Team’s Alone

  • The team’s solution is something the team members build from their acquisition of skills and from their understanding of the Challenge and rules. It is Interference for a Team Manager, parent, teacher etc. to be in the team’s solution.
  • A total of seven team members may contribute ideas, work on the solution, and participate in your team’s Presentation at the tournament. Every idea for every part of the unique solution must come from the team members only.
  • If someone not on the team offers an idea, your team may not use that idea, even if you might have thought of it yourselves later on.
  • If someone not on your team, including the Team Manager, builds or creates an item using the team’s idea, you may not use that item. The team must start over and build it yourselves in your own way. If someone not on your team, such as the Team Manager or a parent, tells your team how to do something, whether you are building something new or just practicing your Presentation, the team must politely tell that person to let them do it them selves.
  • Please read page 13 of the Rules of the Road.


So…. where as a Team Manager or parent are you crossing the interference line?


Think of it this way….

  • You can teach the team how to use the sewing machine, show them how to sew a seam together. You can’t show them how to make their costumes.
  • You can talk about what makes things funny, different styles of humor or watch comedies. You can’t tell them which parts of their script could be improved by adding humor.
  • You can talk about bridges, look at how different bridges are built. You can’t tell them how to build their bridge or remind them what might work from past discussions.
  • You can listen to their ideas toward their solution. You can’t add/voice your ideas to their solution.
  • You can bring in a subject matter expert to discuss a topic or teach a skill. (We suggest this person knows nothing about the teams challenge.) The kids can ask questions but they can’t ask your expert how she/he would solve their challenge.


Would it be easier to just help them out?  Will you be totally tempted to jump right in?


Yes, of course! But “helping them out” robs them of the opportunity to solve the challenge on their own. Let the team talk it through, and developed a solution on their own. Their solution might take freaking forever and watching them may frustrate the heck out of you, especially when you think know a solution. Their idea might work or it might not but learning through failure is an important step. In the long run they will increase their self-confidence and learn that they have a voice that deserves to be heard.



But WAIT! My team of 3rd graders wants to use power tools.

Yep, they have to do it themselves. You can show them how to safely use the tool and you can stand there with your hand ready to pull the plug, but they have to do it themselves. If you as their Team Manager decide the team isn’t ready for power tools, then the team will need to find another way to solve the challenge.