What to Expect for Teams
Not fully updated yet for 2017-2018 season… most of the information is still accurate.
Reminder: No new team members may be added between the Qualifier Tournament and the Championship.
- One Coach (or Supervising Adult) goes to Team Check-In desk to hand off latest FIRST Team Roster printout PLUS turn in waivers for all/any names written in (ie in the “non-pre printed section”). Coach needs to download a roster from the FIRST Dashboard. Team volunteers are not normally listed on team roster (unless they are a coach or mentor).
- Teams can go directly to their pit table – PITs open at 7:30am. But the team members don’t have to show up until closer to opening ceremony.
- One Coach (or other Team Manager) will receive team buttons for each team member plus 2 coach buttons at the Mandatory Coaches Meeting at 7:30am in Robot Design D1 (exact classroom number is specific to tournament location). The team needs these buttons to get to the competition game rounds and judging.
VERY IMPORTANT: The pit areas will be open to the public.
Your team should have someone to hang out at your pit table while the team is at judging and competition rounds. Be aware that the public will have access to all areas except for judging. Each team is responsible for their “stuff” and hopefully we can watch out for each other, but please don’t count on it. You will have access to your pit table through your 4th robot game round. Please make a point of returning to your pit table immediately after your final round and start cleaning up – we are expecting you to help to get your pit table and chairs downstairs and stacked neatly for pickup.
VERY IMPORTANT: We will be doing a security check for Food and Beverages at each door as they are not allowed in the pit area at any time.
No one may bring in any food/beverages into the pit area or gym area – even for storage (ie even if it is a covered container). We are considering having a separate secure area for teams to leave their food/beverages – stay tuned if we get sufficient volunteers to manage this. If we are not able to do this (typically this is because of a lack of volunteers), then teams will likely need to keep all food/beverages in their car. Yes, even water bottles!
This also means that your team’s “give away” should not be a candy or food-related item!
The day works pretty much like your qualifier – but with 4 parallel panels of judges and 3 pairs of tournament tables and the team will get a team photo AND Championship medallions.
Robotic Performance Competition & Scoring:
You need to be queued for your 4 robot game matches ~5 minutes ahead of time.
- The latest Game Update is the official word and the head referee will make final determinations based on version posted on the Friday before the championship tournament at noon, pacific time.
- Each team will attempt the robotics challenge in 4 separate rounds during the tournament day – there is no practice round at the Championship – all rounds count and are scored!
- There are 3 pairs of competition tables – labeled RED1, RED2, WHITE1, WHITE2 and BLUE1, BLUE2 Picture
- Robot performance awards will be based on the single highest score, with ties being determined by 2nd, 3rd and 4th highest scores. If this does not break the tie, then we will award multiple trophies as needed. We will do a coin toss (or something similar) to determine which team gets the trophy on the day of the tournament. We may have difficulty in ordering additional LEGO trophies at this point in the season but we will do our best to do so.
- IMPORTANT: Each team may have only team members on the competition floor during their performance rounds. There will be a very small designated area for the team members to stand on the competition floor near the team’s table and the team is not allowed to roam out of the designated area.
- IMPORTANT: Similar to previous years, no coaches/mentors will be allowed on the competition floor. All coaches/parents/mentors/non-team members need to be sitting in the stands! Not standing near the “barrier” but sitting in the stands so that everyone may see. If we have to remind you to sit down and not stand near the “barrier”, we will be giving the Judge Advisor a “negative” Core Values input about the team based on the misbehavior of the adults. Don’t let this affect your team!
- Each team will have their robot inspected prior to every round. The robot inspection table will be on the competition floor at the team entrance.
- Reminder that only 2 team members may be at the competition table at a time except during catastrophic events such as the robot falling apart. Rotating between team members is absolutely fine and encouraged – just remember that when a new member rotates in, the other has to rotate out.
- The team will queue in their PIT area according to the pit queue manager and then will be sent to the competition area. Note that your competition round may be earlier or later than scheduled – generally we try to be on time or a bit late. We try not to be early but sometimes it happens. It is important to stay alert to changes and have someone at your pit table at all times that knows where the team is.
- It is a good idea to designate a single team member as the score reviewer. We will ask the referees to go over the scoresheet with the team member and then have the team member sign off on how it is marked. We are using the published FIRST scoresheet.
- If the team has a question about a robot score sheet, a team member (not the coach) must bring it to the attention of the head referee. The team must do this immediately, before leaving the competition table and before signing off on the form. The head referee’s decisions are final. There is no escalation for the competition scoring beyond the head referee.
- If there is a problem with the robot score as entered by the scorekeeper (and displayed), please assign a team member to nicely ask for the head referee to review the score as entered. It has happened that there is a translation or entry error in entering the score itself to be displayed, so just calmly ask for it to be reviewed if you suspect an error. We will have a “Question Box” area (Usually this marked as a big ? on a floor tile near the scorekeeper) marked off for 1 or 2 team members to stand in if they have a question for the head referee about the score. Again, this is for a team member, not a mentor, coach or any other non-team member.
- The robot will not be allowed to continue to run after the 2.5 minutes is completed. When the time is up, no further action of the robot will be counted.
- Note that teams can not bring extra robots, motors, field game elements, laptops etc to the competition floor area. A team may only bring to the competition floor the maximum electrical pieces as defined in the “Materials” section of the Rules. You may have your entire LEGO kit and multiple robots at your PIT table. The restriction is on what items you bring to the competition floor.
- If your team’s strategy includes picking up your robot, it is a very good idea to let the referee know ahead of time so that they are prepared for this and not in your way and can help if the team members are too short to reach.
- Remember that the team may not touch the field, the mat or any field elements before, during or after their competition round. Intentionally resetting or checking a field element by the team is explicitly not allowed.
- The team is responsible for asking the referee to check the mat and game elements before their round to ensure that all elements are fully dual-locked and setup properly.
- You may not bring a laptop up to a PIT practice table or the competition tables – only robots allowed. See published Pit Practice Policy
- NO BLUETOOTH ENABLED AT ANY TIME at the competition or practice tables!
- We will not be using overhead lights on the competition tables.
- The tables use 2×3 high side walls (not the older standard 2x4s which may have been used at your qualifier).
- You are welcome to calibrate your light sensor(s) during your normal “1 minute” setup time prior to each game round. Remember that you can not interact / interfere with the game field during this time and we will ask you to limit this to near the BASE area and not throughout the field.
- We will have a small “TV Tray” at each table to hold robot attachments that have been removed from the field. If you want to use a table, you must use the one provided.
- We ask that all scoring field elements be in one of 3 places: 1) On the challenge table ; 2) Visibly – on the side table or 3) being held by one of the two team members actively at the challenge table. We don’t want to delay the day by having to hunt down specific game elements that the last team took with them.
- For safety reasons, nothing may be placed on the floor.
You need to be queued for judging ~5 minutes prior to your judging sessions.
- Judging will be done in 3, 13-minute sessions scheduled every 20 minutes. This is longer than what you (or the judges) have had previously.
- The 3 judging slots are for judging the Project (P), Robot Design (D) and Core Values (C).
- The team will have 13 minutes with each judging panel and then the judges will have 7 minutes to deliberate / evaluate the team according to the defined FIRST rubrics. This means that the team will be out of any judging room for at least 7 minutes in between judging sessions. Note that the team may be exposed to the weather during this time!
- You must attend all judging sessions at your scheduled time. We do not have time in the schedule for re-arranging team judging slots.
- The 13 minute session is the entire time that your team has with the judges for that topic. This means that all setup/tear down, presentation and Q&A must occur within the time frame.
- Per project definition, the project presentation should be no more than 5 minutes including all setup kit to allow amble time for the judges to ask questions.
- There will be a challenge table in each robot design judging room, but it will not be lighted.
- The design judges will NOT be reviewing, using or accepting the robot design executive summary sheet. If your team has a presentation for the design judges, it must be short and it is at the discretion of the judges if they will give you a few minutes to do that presentation. The intent of the design judging is to have a conversation with the team about the robot.
- For Core Values judging, there will be a simple teamwork activity – this is not directly part of the rubrics but as an observational tool to help the judges with their interview of the team
- Also for Core Values judging, the judges will NOT be reviewing, using or accepting the core values poster. Please do not expect to have any time for a presentation or similar related to this. When the team walks into the room, the first thing will be the teamwork activity and then into Q&A with the team.
- We are not allowing any non-team members (adults, parents, coaches or mentors) to attend the judging sessions except in very specific cases, typically around special needs members that are on the autism spectrum.
- Each judged area (robot design, core values, and project) has 4 parallel groups of judges. Your team has been assigned to one of the groups and all 3 of your judging rooms are reasonably close to each other.
- The team does NOT need to have printed copies of their Team Profile sheet – these are made available electronically to the judges. Please don’t bring these or other materials to hand to the judges as it is just wasted paper/resources.
- Bring all materials (all programs, robot(s) and all attachments, all of your project presentation materials and any other material) needed for all judging when you go for your first judging session. You will not really have time in between judging sessions to return to the pits get items.
- IMPORTANT : Although rare, it is possible that the judges will need to have callbacks. This is at their discretion. If callbacks are needed, they will do their utmost to take into consideration your team’s schedule.
- Judges will be trying to visit the Pit Area throughout the day (Roving Judges) as well as after lunch additional judges may be visiting the pit area – please try to make sure that you have someone present that knows where the team is at all times.
- Space is limited in the judging interview rooms, so take this into consideration when planning out your project presentation!
- You will be presenting to a panel of 2 to 3 judges. We are unable to use any equipment that may exist in the room and we are unable to promise access to electrical power, etc. Please take this into consideration.
- Your team will have a pre-assigned pit table. You may not exchange/swap or move your pit table
- Your pit table likely will likely have cardboard squares underneath each leg – do not push/move your pit table. The squares are there to protect the floor from scratches. At the end of the day, do not throw away these cardboard squares – it takes a long time to create this many. We use them over and over again and there is a box that they get returned to.
- Nothing (including FLL Challenge tables and/or field setup kits) is allowed to be put on the floor except if explicit permission is given by the Tournament Director (aka Jill). None of the current Championship locations has space where this could be done safely and without being a tripping hazard (and thus a violation of fire code).
- The team will be given exactly 2 chairs to use at their pit table – if you want additional chairs, we recommend bringing them. Note that all chairs must have non-metal “feet” or similar so that you don’t scratch the floor
- Please review the NorCal official Pit Practice Table policy with the team.
- Teams or anyone associated with a team may not have any food or beverage in the pit area at any time. Anyone with food or beverage will be considered to have an “Egregious” Core Values violation and likely would result in that team being completely disqualified from winning any awards. We have had significant issues with this and are instituting a zero tolerance policy. This also means that all purses, bags and containers will be searched when entering / exiting the pit area.
- We strongly encourage your team to decorate their pit table/area to showcase the team’s personality/spirit. In addition, we recommend having non-food team give aways. Also, no stickers please!
What to Expect
- Emergency Contact Number for the day of the tournament is: (510) 517-8826. Text is best but leave a message if you have to call and no one picks up.
- After the team’s 4th competition game round (sometime between 3:30 and 5:00pm), we need you and the assigned volunteers to focus on clearing the PIT areas – please help. We will not start the closing ceremony until all PIT areas are completely clean.
- We will not provide any team signs or identification but we recommend that you create one to help with team identification.
- Cancellations CANNOT be accepted. However if you know that you can not attend, the earlier that you can tell us the better, as it may give someone else a chance to come. We can not commit to providing a refund even if a replacement team is found.
- Individual team schedules can not be changed. It is a convenience to the teams and their families to post them early (typically posted at least 1 week prior to the tournament) – please don’t make us sorry by requesting changes. Teams were randomly assigned into a pit number.
- The pit area is OPEN to the public.
- Officials (judges, referee, and field crew), the media and some VIPs will be wearing identification for access to the competition floor. NO OTHER PERSONS WILL BE ALLOWED INSIDE THE COMPETITION AREA EXCEPT DURING THEIR TEAM’S ROUNDS. There are no exceptions to this rule.
- Plenty of bleacher seating will be available.
- Participation medallions will be handed out to each team member and 1 or 2 coaches/mentors during the day along with a team photo opportunity! Your team has a pre-determined time slot. If the line backs up or if you don’t feel like you have enough time to get between activities, you can go after 2pm but you must complete this by ~5pm.
- If you bring a team banner/poster, please only hang it on the wall with painter’s tape (aka Blue Tape) only. Please do not use any other kind of tape or adhesive.
- We would recommend bringing something to cover the surface of your pit table – it may have “rough edges” and someone could end up with a splinter. It is likely to be wood.
- Absolutely no food or drink is allowed in any gym, pit or competition area – we need everyone’s help in making sure that our hosting facilities do not get mad or charge us additional cleaning fees. We need everyone’s help on this one!
- If you need to hang out at the PITs for your team, we do recommend that you bring a folding chair with you for the PIT area as seating will be limited.
- Referees and Judges have the final say on all decisions.
- All volunteers may provide Core Values feedback on any team (or coach/mentor or others attending to support a team).
- After the team’s 3rd robot game round, each team member will vote on a set of fun, additional optional awards [more info on Kids Choice Award here]. Teams will not be able to vote for themselves – so please prep your team.
- Coaches or other adults that argue/discuss/deliberate/revisit/question/interact or talk with any referee, judge or other official will be asked to leave as well as have a negative Core Values feedback sent to the Judge Advisor! Many times, parents and/or coaches don’t realize the intensity of their questioning. We do not want any of our volunteer judges or referees to engage in discussions with anyone other than team members. We are serious about this.
- If someone that is not a team member has a question that is not about the robot game and was not addressed in the morning Coaches’ Meeting – then have a nice person gently and kindly ask the Tournament Director or Floor Manager when they are obviously not in the middle of solving an issue.
- Please make sure that you and all people associated with team behave or stay home. IT IS ABOUT THE KIDS!
- We encourage teams to use their downtime to: observe and ask other team about their robots and projects in order to vote for the Kids Choice Awards! Also, teams can watch other teams compete, tour the pits, eat, practice the team’s own presentation, or make final tuning modifications to their own robot or programs.
- Food and drinks (water, soda) will be sold on site at a reasonable price. However, food and drinks will not be allowed at any time in any of the competition or pit areas! More information about lunch items will be available on each tournament site.
- The event is open and free to the public. Please invite your team’s classmates, teachers, school board members, local media and your colleagues.
- Tournament souvenirs may be sold at the tournament. We are still looking at options.
- FLL is a kid-directed activity and all aspects are required to be done by the team members themselves and not the mentors, coaches or others. We will have “roaming” judges wandering the pits and other areas to watch for both positive things such as Gracious Professionalism as well as the negatives such as over-involved parents or coaches. Please do not undermine your team’s chances to be recognized with an award for their efforts.
- We have a zero tolerance policy towards misbehaving adults that includes “typing at a computer” in the pit areas, directing efforts at a practice table, or other similar situations where it may not be obvious that the team members are doing the work and making the decisions! Keep your hands off of project materials, robots, LEGO elements, computers, etc, etc. Remember the tournament day is about celebrating the teams’ accomplishments – not yours!
- Remember, everyone at the tournament is a volunteer and doing the best they can. Please respect each other and let our volunteers know how much you appreciate their efforts. Remember that we can not put on a tournament without volunteers – please treat them well.
- Please take note of the weather conditions and have a plan for protecting the team’s presentation and robot from the weather.
- We will be following the published FLL guidelines in how the awards are given.
- A team may win up to 2 awards only if one of them is for Robot Performance.
- The Champion’s Award is based on equal weighting of Core Values, Robot Design and Project for teams that are in the top 40% of the robot game.
- We do have special recognition awards including the Kids Choice Awards and similar awards that are not part of the official FLL awards and are completely independent of the FLL award guidelines.
Please make sure to check this web site for additional information and/or updates.