2015 FIRST LEGO League Kickoff – Aug 29, 2015

Kickoff Recordings

These videos are provided as a reference. They do not represent official policies or rules and cannot be used to justify actions to tournament officials. Please read the Season Standards Manual and FLL Challenge Documents for official rules at events.


Intro to Judging

Judging Deep Dive

Project Experts Panel

Contact Information for the Experts

Eric Zetz
Public Utilities Department
City of Clovis

Marcus Barile

CVR was testing new video recording equipment, and unfortunately we were only able to get functional recordings out of the sessions in the Alta Sierra MPR. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Kickoff Slide Decks and Flyers

These documents are provided as a reference. They do not represent official policies or rules and cannot be used to justify actions to tournament officials. Please read the Season Standards Manual and FLL Challenge Documents for official rules at events.

Kickoff Notes

These notes are provided as a reference. They do not represent official policies or rules and cannot be used to justify actions to tournament officials. Please read the Season Standards Manual and FLL Challenge Documents for official rules at events.

Veteran Coach Q&A 

How much time do we need to dedicate per week?

  • Maybe 3 days for an 1 hr 15 min.  2 session for 2 hours.  Multiple smaller sessions

Are there process guidelines to move the kids in the right direction?

  • There should be group meetings before the season to talk about every mission and then vote on priority missions. After, the kids can research them. Let kids give the specifics, but give them the general idea.
  • First meeting is for getting to know people, and then let the team start to explore the project. You can give out positions to kids who are more interested or stronger in a certain area. (project heads, etc.) With core values being number 1, meetings are important to guide kids how to communicate with each other and remind them what this is for.
  • Useful to have the first few meetings as exposing kids to see what they are interested in. Then break kids up into groups so they can work on that area. Get some help on logistics.

Robotics kits have instructions and seems to push kids to build the robot in a particular way, so what do you think is the best way to approach building the robot?

  • Follow basic design, but after few years, try to build from scratch. Find what’s possible from other kids on YouTube.
  • Set up the board and walk through each mission to see what mechanism it’s going to take to do each mission, then find ways to get multiple mission completed using one mechanism. Find a way to attach the items quickly.
  • Let kids come up with ideas. When they do robot design, make sure they get the message that they should design something that can switch quickly (time efficient).

How do you organize the team? Do you split up the returning members from the new members or put them together?

  • If the returning team bonded well, then keep the members together and add few new members and let them mentor the new group.
  • The old team understand each other better and has worked together more. New kids can learn from returning members.

Talk to us about your biggest challenge, and rewarding moment.

  • Giving kids something they don’t want to do, or part. Let kids switch stations and work on something different. Most rewarding day is the competition day. Everyone is excited.
  • Having an all girl’s team had drama. We focused on project and core values. The robot became playtime and kids enjoyed building. Make the project fun. Integrate the project into something fun that they can grab ahold of.

Judging wise is it better to have all kids familiar with talking or a few kids focused on that, and everyone else working on the project?

  • Want every student to have an area of focus and something they can talk about. Want all members to be involved in judging process.
  • All members in the team should be well versed with their team’s accomplishments. They should know why they chose that project, why it’s important, what did they learn.
  • Can transfer the question to someone who knows the details.
  • Level of engagement can differ but the whole team should be exposed to the basics: game, the robot, etc.
  • We expect all members to have basic knowledge, principles, and core values.

What suggestions would you have to get kids to work with core values and how are they judged?

  • Core values require the team to think together and carry their core values throughout. Afterwards judges discuss how well team worked together. Explained on team agreement.
  • Remind kids to cooperate.
  • What does cooperation mean to the team? Understand the values and adhere to them.
  • It should come naturally from their behavior and participation. Go over and talk about one core value and what it means to them. It should be their understanding. Practice days-Core values should be visible.
  • Give a core value to each kid and they could be an advocate for that value and help others remember.
  • If judges see something that could break the core values, then the score would go down.

Do giving gifts affect the team’s score, and are they tracked?

  • It’s not tracked and is up to what the kids want. A small gift gives kids a way to talk to other teams and see what’s going on.

Would you recommend using one place for meetings or different places so kids know how to set up and take things down?

  • Fields are set up for you, so it’s not necessary and it’s better to keep everything set up. It’s good to know how the table’s set up so if anything goes wrong, then the kids can tell someone to fix it.

I heard about flags. Is it a new thing this year?

  • Each team is expected to carry flags. Vinyl and dowel is provided.

Online Tools Workshop

Is the website on the sheet?

  • Link to it on teamconnect.cvrobotics.org

Where are the forms?

  • On the FLL menu, there is a link that shows you how to download and send forms. The blank forms are at the bottom.

Can we send forms in before registering for events?

  • Get all forms in before registering for events.

On the registration process, is it a free for all?

  • Yes, it’s first come, first serve for the events.

How long does it take for the registration forms to be cleared?

  • About 24-72 hours

On the scrimmage, is it all first come, first serve?

  • Yes, unless it’s an official district meeting.

On the scrimmage, is it just the robot game?

  • Yes, if there are more games, it will be on the website for events.

For the school teams, leader manages how big of a team?

  • It depends on the school district, the coordinator just manages the teams of about 10.

How do you take care of the financial cost? How much does it cost?

  • Usually we have fundraisers or find sponsors. It costs $225 to register and $900 to have the team.

Programming Workshop

What are the software requirements?

  • You can use it on Windows or Mac, and on any computer.

Does it work on Windows 10?

  • I haven’t tried it, but I would assume. It won’t work on a mobile device or iPad.

What software/program is better. EV3 OR NXT?

  • The EV3 is the newer version and has more programs, but they will both work.

What is the program block referring too?

  • Step by step visual instructions that lets you program and control speed and movement of the robot.

It’s your 3rd year of programming. How deep did you get into the programming?

  • Not that complicated. It’s the kids’ robot, so they do whatever they can handle. The robots run code on BC, so if it’s programmed for AD, the robot will not move.
  • There are 2 play buttons that downloads the program/coding, which makes the robot move forward. Only press the bottom play button, not both.

Can you make the robot run a fraction of a revolution?

  • Yes, but only to one decimal place. Degrees is more precise. It can run .5, .2, etc.

The power is speed?

  • Yes

Can the robot be only made from lego pieces.

  • Anything that Lego makes can be used.

When you are judging the coding, do you look at the laptop?

  • You have to print it out. You are only required to run 1-2 programs.

Introduction to FLL Judging 

What is FLL Judging?

  • Presentation component of competition
  • Determines advancement and awards at events

What are FLL Judging Sessions?

  • Judging sessions have 5 minutes to present
  • 5 minutes of Q&A
  • All judging sessions are back to back
  • Don’t miss your judging block

What are the three judging sessions?

  • Project-focus on research project, very important.
  • Robot Design-Judges a robot game table and design of their robots.
  • Core Values-based around a team work activity.
  • Judges see how kids interact with each other
  • Judges and volunteers see how kids use their core values

What is Inspiration?

  • Discovery
  • Team Spirit
  • Integration
  • The only feedback you get from judges
  • Can the kids use core values outside FLL?
  • Can your kids overcome obstacles or arguments?
  • Make sure the kids are doing the work
  • Kids will be judges off their age

What is Gracious Professionalism?

  • Inclusion
  • Respect
  • Coopertition

Where can I find the rubric research?

  • In the coaches manual

How do you know if you have completely addressed the research?

  • Did they identify the problem?
  • They have to come up with a solution for a problem
  • They must improve something or come up with something new
  • We want the kids to go out into the communities to share their ideas for solutions
  • They come up with a presentation as simplified as possible
  • You should not use too much technology for presentation

What is mechanical side of judging?

  • Can your robot run without breaking?
  • Tell your kids to simplify the design of your robot
  • Is there an easier way to do that?

What is the programming side of judging?

  • Does the program get the job done?
  • More sensors the better-use the sensers to be more accurate for the game
  • How they come up with the design of the robot?
  • We want the kids to have fun and be creative with the robot
  • Volunteer to judge to find out how the process works and their perspective
  • Keep a design notebook in case something goes wrong

What are the rules on adding stuff?

  • It must be a Lego item
  • You can put anything if it is Lego

What happens if the game is set up wrong?

  • Everything is stuck to the mat of the game
  • Bring a copy of the item with you
  • Your kids can set it up if it is wrong
  • Adults are not allowed to talk during sessions.

Can a younger child join?

  • Minimum age is 9
  • They must be in the age range
  • Younger kids could be a supporter of the team

What is the judging philosophy?

  • We judge the teams and come together to talk about the strengths of each team
  • Judges can not share anything with the team
  • Adults can be seen but not heard
  • If kids are nervous just nod and smile
  • You need to have a coach badge if you want to go into the judging session
  • Make sure you are using your time wisely
  • Time starts when you walk through the door
  • Bring everything you need for judging session-even if you think you don’t need it, bring it

Project Deep Dive and Mock Judging Sessions

What are some important points regarding Trash Trek Project?

  • If the Trash Trek Project is not completed, team will not be eligible for awards
  • Figure out a problem, innovate a solution
  • Share your solution, go out into the community and get your solution out there
  • Should be able to identify the problem, know who it was shared with, and the solution

What are some example research topics?

  • Plastic, food scraps, used hemp clothes
  • Explore different topics

What are some helpful tips?

  • Start early, just as important as robot (if not more)
  • Everyone on team should be a part of the project
  • Take project as far as the kids want to go
  • Make presentation as simple as possible, rely as little as you can on electronics, plan as simple as possible
  • No pre-recorded presentations

Do judges look at posters?

  • One judge asks questions, one takes notes
  • If you have a poster, have data on a flyer and give to judges

Does presentation satisfy sharing?

  • No, the presentation does not satisfy the sharing requirement
  • Have to go out into the community and share it

What are the key takeaways?

  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Shared in community
  • Use as little complexity as possible
  • Prepare them for worst case scenarios, such as distractions

What is a good way to show judges your research?

  • Use FIRST document of resources
  • Bibliography, binder of research, cite it on project poster, include websites, etc.
  • Go for credible sources, ex:  .orgs

Do you have to share with a professional or a member of the community?

  • No sharing does not have to be with a professional, but it can
  • Sharing within other members of community does count
  • Ex:  School rally’s
  • Make sure the kids are having fun!!

Should they memorize the presentation?

  • The presentation does not have to be memorized, but encouraged
  • More natural when memorized
  • No script, have points to talk about, natural sounding

Do all 9 kids have to present (large teams)?

  • Yes, all kids must present
  • If a kid is shy, just try to involve them even for a little bit of the project to get them to talk and be actively engaged
  • Parents and spectators no longer allowed in presentation room with kids, only coaches with a valid badge

Can parents help bring things in?

  • Yes, the judge should understand, if things are to heavy parents can carry in
  • Parents should have no interaction with judges
  • Talk to staff if there are problems (very calmly!!!)

How much training to judges need to have?

  • Online training from one hour to three or four hours
  • One day of Training
  • Drop by training day of events

Project Panel Experts Q&A

What is used in sorting recyclable stuff?

  • Automated systems so never have to touch it unless contaminated
  • Sort, bail, the send to mills to be recycled

How is it separated?

  • All three cans are commingled
  • All three cans go to a facility before the landfill
  • Separated out for the usable recyclables
  • Contamination, people putting the wrong things in the wrong cans
  • Recycle Often Recycle Right website to educate on how to properly recycle
  • MRF Materials Recycling Facility, huge conveyer belt operation system, sorted by many things, even by hand

What are the most common contaminated materials?

  • From liquid contamination of the recyclable materials
  • Food and diapers are the most contaminated
  • Any metal can cause the saw to explode
  • Electrical tools can be put in blue bins for recycling.

Is left over food and liquid in paper plates and cups considered contamination?

  • Yes the food and liquid can be disposed of in your grey bin
  • Wash and clean out jars and other things you throw away to stem contamination
Kickoff Information

The page below is preserved for those interested in the details of the FLL kickoff. If you would like to see recordings or notes from the kickoff, please use the tabs above to navigate.


Central Valley Robotics formally invites all Central Valley FLL Teams to join us for the 2015 FLL Kickoff on August 29th, 2015 at Alta Sierra Intermediate. Prior to the keynote in the morning will be networking opportunities for new and veteran coaches. The festivities officially start at 8:30 AM with the keynote from the CVR Director, Michael Adam. Following the Keynote will be three 50-minute training sessions for coaches to attend. (See below for details on the sessions). Starting at 12PM will be a lunch networking break with lunch trucks on site. Finally, at 1:15pm CVR will host the Robot Game Deep Dive to cover the 2015 Robot Game in detail.

We recommend every team send two attendees to attend all of the concurrent sessions.

Quick Summary


August 29, 2015
8:30 AM – 3:00 PM
(Check-in opens at 7:45AM)


FLL Coaches and Mentors (Content will be geared towards adults, not children)
RSVP Below


Alta Sierra Intermediate
380 W Teague Ave, Clovis, CA 93619


Annual Kickoff Event to learn about the 2015 FLL Season in the Central Valley. Coaches can attend sessions on a variety of topics to help them this season. See below for more information.

Event Details

The day is broken up into three parts:  the group keynote,  the break-out training sessions, and the Robot Game Deep Dive.

Introduction to FLL for New Teams: 7:50am – 8:20am

Location: Band Room

(This is an optional session). In this session, CVR will introduce FLL and FIRST to new teams and coaches. We will cover the basics of the program and what to expect throughout the season.

Keynote: 8:30am – 9:00am

Location: Multi-Purpose Room

The opening keynote will be hosted by Michael Adam, Director of Central Valley Robotics.  He will discuss the changes to the FIRST LEGO League program in the Central California Area, the updated tournament registration process and policies, and other regional changes.

Concurrent Sessions: 9:10am – 10:00am

Session 1: Introduction to Judging
Location: Multi-Purpose Room

Join our judging team as they introduce the judging and deliberation process at our events. This session is geared for new coaches and will cover the basics of FLL judging.

Session 2: Burning Questions: Q & A with Veteran FLL Coaches
Location: Band Room

New or inexperienced coaches are invited to come and ask questions to a panel of veteran coaches. These folks have been through everything you’re about to go through and this is the best place to ask for their advice and insight from seasons past.

Concurrent Sessions: 10:10am – 11:00am

Session 1: Judging Deep Dive and Mock Sessions
Location: Multi-Purpose Room

Join our judging team for a deep dive into the judging process. They will cover tips and tricks for coaches, as well as host some mock judging sessions.

Session 2: Online Tools Workshop
Location: Band Room

Join our technology team as they demos all of the online tools available to teams this season. This includes the CVR website, TeamConnect, firstlegoleague.org and more.

Concurrent Sessions: 11:10am – 12:00pm

Session 1: Meet the Experts Project Panel
Location: Multi-Purpose Room

Join our judging team as they facilitate a question and answer forum with industry experts from fields relating to the TRASH TREK problem. Connect with experts and develop connections for your team to share their innovative solutions.

Session 2: Programming Workshop
Location: Band Room

CVR Staff will provide an overview of programming using LEGO MINDSTORMS software. Coaches will have a chance to get their feet wet before introducing the software to their teams.

Lunch Break: 12:00pm – 1:15pm

Location: Multi-Purpose Room

Following the sessions, CVR will host a lunch for coaches to network with other coaches and CVR staff.  There will be discussion groups moderated by CVR staff during the lunch period.  Please suggest topics for these lunch sessions when you get your tickets.
During the lunch period we will have Locavoria out to serve lunch, as well as some local vendors and FRC teams.  Be sure to network with the local FRC team in your area to partner for mentors and support.

Robot Game Deep Dive: 1:15pm – 3:00pm

Location: Gymnasium

This year we are bringing our Robot Game Deep Dive to the Kickoff! We will be going in-depth into the rules, missions, and robot game updates. We will discuss the Robot Game procedure and what to expect at events.

Schedule Overview

Food Truck Menu

LoCAvoria will be providing food at our Kickoff this year.  They will also be donating part of the proceeds from the day to CVR!  Help support CVR by buying lunch at the Kickoff.  Here is their menu:

  • Split Gear Burger – BLT Hamburger on a Flatbread
  • EV “3 Meatball” Sandwich – Three Meatball Flatbread Sandwich
  • Angry LEGO Chicken Chorizo – Chicken Chorizo Flatbread Sandwich

Additionally, vegetarian and gluten free options will be available upon request.

CVR Shirt Sale

Central Valley Robotics will be selling an assortment of shirts from prior FLL seasons as a fundraiser for the upcoming season.  Please check them out near the check-in table on Saturday!

RSVP for the Kickoff!

While optional, we request that all coaches and mentors that plan on attending to please RSVP for the Kickoff. In the event we are over capacity, priority will be given to those that RSVP.
If you cannot see the Eventbrite widget below, please click here to visit the event page directly.

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