Save The Date 1/11/20

Good News,  We have been assigned our competition date so Please save the Date.
  • Rockville Science Center FLL Qualifier – hosted at the Universities at Shady Grove, which will occur on 1/11/2020.
  • The event will run from 8 am to 4 pm roughly.  We will get you a more detailed agenda once it is published.

To prepare we will need to do a few things

  • Put together our Core values tri-Fold (more details can be found below)
  • Put together our project presentation, pick our student presenters and practice presenting (more details can be found below)
  • Pick our drive team, we are only allowed to have 3 students working with the robot when it is competing. The remainder of the students will be in the stands cheering
  • Practice, Practice practice. The robot needs to be consistent at completing the missions
  • Create a team 1 page info sheet

We also have a few logistical items we need to complete

  • Get our t-shirts designed and made (if parents would like a t-shirt, please contact me with a size, there may be a charge based on the complexity of the design)
  • Arrange for travel to the event
  • Arrange for food at the event
  • Practice!

Good News, We have received a $1,000 donation from a local supporter of student robotics.  Our deepest appreciation goes out to them for their support. If you know someone who would be interested in donating, please have them reach out to us. Donations like this will allow us to grow the program going forward.

The Kids have been hard at work on all of the competition items.  We have been learning about converting speed to power, and vice versa. We have been trying, failing and talking about the importance of failure.  We have been talking about what makes a great team mate and celebrating our successes. Images from the last few weeks can be found below.


Robot Game Notes

 Teams, there are many important updates to the Robot Game that may impact your team at a tournament.   Remember to always refer to the Game Guide to find the OFFICIAL rules and field setup instructions.  In addition to the game guide, you should also regularly check the Challenge Updates page.  Updates will continue to be released throughout the season, and the updates published here overrule the Game Guide.

When placing the mat on the table rule update RG01 tells us that the mat should touch the south and west walls of the table.

Launch Area

The Launch Area is where teams will set their robot before sending it off to do missions. The launch area does not contain any part of Home, Home does not contain any part of the Launch Area. Your robot, equipment, and mission models must completely fit inside the launch are and must not be more than 12 inches high.  Your robot must not have any equipment, attachments, wires, or LEGO parts that hang over the inside wall or any part of the launch area boarder.

Your team may change attachments and set up mission models for transport how you wish in the Launch Area, however, the team may not set up mission models or equipment on the mat outside of the Launch Area. It is not recommended that a team slide their equipment and mission models from Home to the Launch Area, prep equipment and models and then moving them to the launch area by hand is a best practice.


Jigs or LEGO templates can be used when preparing to launch your robot, there are some rules around Jigs in the latest game update. Jigs are commonly used to align the robot so that it starts it’s mission in the correct position. You may use a jig that extends to the west wall so long as the team removes the jig before the robot is launched. The team may use a jig that touches the south wall as long as it is completely in the launch area.  If the Jig is not removed before time of the launch the Jig will remain in the launch area as is while the robot is completing missions. This means that there is a possibility of the jig interfering with the robot when returning home.


The team may program the robot to return Home as desired. When the Robot is entirely within Home, the team may touch the Robot without the loss of a precision token. Teams it is important to notice that home is the entire length of the board from the boundary line to the inside walls. Home does not extend into the launch area, and the robot and equipment must not hang over the inside border of walls and the mat boundary, otherwise the team will risk the loss of a precision token.


Core Values

The FIRST LEGO League Core Values set FLL apart from many other competitions. They embody a set of skills that are essential for life and require attention throughout the season. You may hear “the project and the robot game are what we do, the core values are how we do it.” Because of this, working on the Core Values shouldn’t be entirely separated from the other parts of FLL. Coaches should aim to help the kids practice and improve their Core Values skills through all of their work. Coaches should also set a good example for the team by acting in accordance with the Core Values during meetings.

FIRST LEGO League Core Values:

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.

  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.

  • Impact:  We apply what we learn to improve our world.

  • Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.

  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.

  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

Core Values Judging

The Core Values judging session will begin with a teamwork activity for the team to complete. The team will not know what the challenge is ahead of time. The judges will be observing how the team works together. Part of Core Values coaching is to help the kids learn to talk more about what they are doing as they go through the challenges, so that an observer will understand how they work together.

Additionally, tournament volunteers who observe a team exhibiting positive or negative Core Values throughout the day may relay that information to the judges. Core Values are to be internalized and “lived” by a team, not practiced only in the judging room.

Team Spirit:

“Teamwork” and “Fun” lead straight into team identity and team spirit. Coaches should help foster this by encouraging team chants and silly “inside jokes” and whatever else arises naturally in the course of meetings. Tee shirts, funny hats or other “costume” ideas, and silly titles can play into this as well. Coaches should follow the kids’ lead while encouraging them to come up with things that encourage team identity and fun. For the event, it’s nice to have a banner or flag or something similar to carry during the parade and decorate the table in the pits.

New this season – Engineering Notebooks

This season FIRST has introduced the Team Meeting Guide and Engineering Notebooks as part of the official Challenge materials.  Both of these tools are optional, and available to be used by teams if they choose to do so. Here are a few helpful hints based on questions we have received this season:

  • These items are focused on assisting rookie teams.

  • Engineering Notebooks are NOT required, and teams will not be expected to bring them to their competition.

  • These items were printed before the season started, and therefore you might find that some material is out of date.  Remember to always refer to the Game Guide to find the OFFICIAL rules and field setup instructions.

Remember to also regularly check the Challenge Updates page.  Updates will continue to be released throughout the season, and the updates published here overrule the Game Guide.

Robot Judging

During the competition season, teams will build and program a robot to complete missions. In Robot Design judging, the team presents their robot and describes how it functions.  Teams should bring their robot, all mechanical attachments, and a sample of their code to review with the judges.

This year, teams may use any programming language they wish to program their robot. Teams should be prepared to explain to the judges what programming language they used and why.

A big change this year is that there will not be a competition table in the judging room!  Instead, the team will present their robot to the judges, and answer questions about the mechanical design, strategy, and software.


Teams, there are three components to a FLL competition, Robot Design, Core Values, and Project.

Find the FIRST resources for your project here:

This season teams will identify a problem with a building or public space in your community, design a solution for the problem, and share the solution with the others. Keep in mind that the team defines their community.

How to identify a problem:

  • Speak to community leaders
  • Community groups
  • News outlets
  • Take a walk in your community

Speak to experts:

  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Disaster preparation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Infrastructure

Innovative Solution:

The team will need to create an innovative solution to the problem, bounce ideas off of your experts, and refine your solution to the problem. Does this solution already exist? If so, can you improve on the solution?

Share your solution:

Community groups, experts, elected leaders, and more. It is important that team share their project and solution with many people in your community.  Present your solution with the community as you would before the judges if at all possible.

Present your solution:

At the competition teams will have 5 minutes to present their project problem and solution. The five minute presentation will include any set up time that the team needs. Your team may be asked to stop your presentation if the time exceeds five minutes.

The best project presentations are well rehearsed, engaging, informative, and times, funny.  It is important that all the team members participate in the presentation. After your presentation the judges will ask questions, be prepared with your answers.  Please bring a team information sheet, but do not leave any project resource binders with the judges.

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