Welcome to 2015-2016 Trash Trek Championship

as of 1/6:  We now have confirmed date the Silicon Valley Championship – it will be February 13th at Sobrato HS in Morgan Hill.   We are working hard on confirming the Peninsula district championships.   Capital Championship is January 16th at Inderkum  HS  in Sacramento.

For teams that have advanced, you will need to submit a new jotform and there is a separate registration fee  – more information on Championship registration requirements.


Join Us – all FIRST events are open to the public to attend.
Even better,  volunteer!

Volunteer Roles  &  Sign up via FIRST VIMS!
Volunteer Policy – judges and referees must be independent (ie unaffiliated) of any FLL Team

Team Volunteers – List of roles available and status

Most volunteers are needed from ~7am to ~7pm

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Team Volunteer Roles

Several teams have asked about being able to have more than 1 adult volunteer “split” a role or possibly have 2 volunteers willing to each take half a day or similar.  I didn’t want to do this, as it is a lot more work for me to manage, but I have compromised as I do understand how difficult this is to manage for teams – particularly school-based teams organized by teachers that may not have a supportive parent base.  There are also several roles that are unique to NorCal  (like the Kids Choice Awards).

I have identified the roles that are open for the team adult volunteer.  Please send your team’s adult volunteer the link before they sign up!  

Below is a table listing of roles that are specifically not open to be filled by the team’s volunteer.   However, if you have high schoolers that are interested in volunteering – the list of roles does identify which ones can be filled by a high school student.

Each team must provide 1 adult, post high school volunteer that will sign up 1 full role OR 2 volunteers that each sign up for 1 half role.  Of course, your team can help more by having more volunteers sign up – we need a total of about 150 to 200 total volunteers, so additional volunteer help would be greatly appreciated.

IMPORTANT:  All volunteers must register in VIMS, apply for a role at the specific tournament event and (if over 18 years old) pass the FIRST required background screen –  there can not be any substitutions of the team’s adult volunteers during the tournament day due to the background screening requirement instituted by FIRST.    The team coach or co-coach may sign up to be the team’s volunteer but only for 2 types of roles:  bringing challenge table and/or to help with setup.  Those are the only roles that I will accept the coach or co-coach to be the team’s volunteer.

Before signing up – please have your team’s volunter check the  current status if the position has been filled, along with descriptions and approximate hours each position is needed


The following roles are listed in VIMS for FLL events.  – However, they are not available for the team’s adult volunteer to fill.  Several can be filled by high school students (for community service) – they are marked in red bold.

Assign Me As Needed
Assistant Scorekeeper
Core Values Judge
Field Resetter
General Volunteer Role for High Schooler…
Head Core Values Judge
Head Project Judge
Head Judge Assistant
Judge Assistant  (only if not affiliated with any FLL Teams)
Pit Runner
Practice Table Assistant
Project Judge
Robot Design Judge
Score Runner
Traffic Control/Security
Volunteer Coordinator
Volunteer Room Assistant


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2014-2015 FLL World Class NorCal District Championships confirmed!

We believe that we have 3 confirmed tournaments for the 2014-2015 FLL World Class NorCal District Championships.    A huge thanks to the FIRST teams at each site that are hosting the championship at their school.

Silicon Valley District Championship :   Saturday  January 10 at Sobrato HS, Morgan Hill, hosted by FTC Team #6223, Evasive Robotics.

Capital District Championship :  Saturday  January 24 at Inderkum HS, Sacramento, hosted by FTC Team #6052, Tiger Tron.

Peninsula District Championship  :  Saturday  February 7 at Aragon HS, San Mateo, hosted by FRC Team #840 & FTC Team #4345, ART.

Can’t attend  the championship based on date conflict or other reason?
Post to request a swap  or email me  (fll at playingatlearning dot org) that you are declining.

What is Lottery?

[updated for 2015 Trash Trek Season]


If your team was announced as advancing and/or your team received the “Advancing to Championship Event” ACE Certificate,  your team is invited to the Championship.  You do not need to concern your team with the lottery at all.  Your team is “in”!

The issue is that the number of announced advancing teams does not quite fill each Championship.

The easiest district to understand is the Capital district which had 10 tournaments, each with 16 teams.  (Note that each district has a similar problem and this has been true for a couple of years).

There is a 48 team Championship.  In the Capital district, there are 10 qualifier tournaments, each with 16 teams.  How do you fill the Championship in the most equitable way?

The advancement rate is an average – not the individual average from each tournament.   So in the example with Capital district,  there are 160 competing teams (10 qualifiers each with 16 teams).   The percentage of advancing teams to fill a 48 team Championship is 48/160 is exactly 30%.   However there is no equitable way to give every tournament 30%, so we run a lottery to fill the Championship as directed by FIRST.

This is true in each district with more or less number of lottery spots.  There is no equitable way to exactly fill the 48 team Capital Championship giving every tournament the exact same number of advancing slots (48 /10 = 4.8).  So,  each Capital district QT advanced 4 announced teams plus one additional unannounced team.  A similar issue happened in the other 2 districts as well.

So, your tournament may have had slightly less than 30% of announced advancing teams, but on average, after we fill the 48-team Championship, the average will be 30%.   For the small number of instances where a tournament advanced at least 30%, then that qualifier did not get put in the lottery.

Which teams were entered into the lottery – the judges used the same criteria as the announced advancing teams:   A  team need to be eligible  to advance (based on being in the top 55% of the robot game performance scores and the overall advancement eligibility criteria defined by FIRST),  BUT was not announced as advancing, the judges then picked one more team (unannounced) and provided that information to Playing At Learning.

We then put all of these for each district together and did a random pick to fill the championship tournament.

There is a chance that if we have teams that decline to participate in the Championship that we will add additional lottery teams and then may even have to open it up to any eligible team.

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2014-2015 FLL World Class Championship Season approaching

Just started bringing this site up to date with the 2014-2015 season FLL World Class information.

Most of the general information for volunteers and teams has been brought up to date.

We don’t have confirmed dates for any of the 3 district championships this season.

Once we do,

Join Us – all FIRST events are open to the public to attend.
Even better,  volunteer!


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Championship Teams: update on rubrics

I have completed the review and sorting for all of the Capital and East Bay team rubrics.   They will go out in tomorrow’s (April 8th) mail.

Next up will be the Silicon Valley and Peninsula Championship rubrics  – hopefully I will get these done this week but I am out on business travel for the next few days and then we have a full weekend of JrFLL Expos.

Next up: Peninsula FLL Championship at Aragon HS

We are excited to have Aragon Robotics Team (ART) – FRC #840  and FTC #4345 – our hosting the Peninsula FLL Championship.  See you on Sunday,  February 9th!    Event details – map, directions

NorCal FLL Championship tournaments are free & open to spectators  – Join Us!

General Schedule

8:15am Opening Ceremony
9am to 4:45pm Robot Game Matches
5pm Closing/Award Ceremony


We still need many volunteers  – high school and older!   Learn more and sign up here


More info   FIRSTFLLNorCal FLL, what is the challenge and this year’s 2013 Challenge details