FAQ
FIRST® LEGO® LEAGUE

Team QUESTIONS

Where can I find more resources for this years challenge?

The FIRST Robotics Competition 2019 game has not been released to the public yet but will be in January. When released, you can find resources in the national FIRST resource library.

How can I find a team to join?

Washington State has around 100 FIRST® Robotics Competition teams each year. Teams are formed in schools, community organizations, and neighborhoods. They can be formed by any interested adult willing to facilitate the team logistics.

Within Washington, many FIRST® Robotics Competitions teams are formed through schools, so the first place to look for opportunities to join a team is with your child’s school. Generally, the school-based teams are open only to students attending that institution because interest often exceeds capacity. If your child’s school does not currently have a team, you may want to work with a teacher or administrator there to help form a team within the school.

Other Washington teams are formed through community organizations such as 4-H, YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, or Boys & Girls Clubs. Generally, this is only one of many activities that the organization facilitates for its members, but if your child is interested in one of these organizations overall, this might be an avenue to pursue in your local area.

The remaining teams in Washington are formed through homeschool groups, religious organizations or neighborhood groups of friends. While these groups are not specifically closed to other students, they do not usually engage in recruiting members.

Since finding an opportunity with an existing team may be difficult, many experienced coaches and parents advise families new to the program to start their own team. The benefits to your child and for those who have an opportunity to participate are well worth the effort. If you need additional resources or encouragement, contact us at FIRST® Washington.

Search for teams near you.

Who can coach a FIRST® Robotics Competition team?

Teachers, parents, and technology professionals all make excellent coaches. The coach must be 18 years or older and should have the desire to explore side-by-side with students and have good communication, prioritizing, and multitasking skills. The coach’s role is to facilitate instruction and optimize the learning experience of the team members by allowing independent thought. Direct adult involvement or intervention during the problem-solving process is strongly discouraged.

Coaches handle all the operational details: where and when to meet, organizing help for snacks, team costumes, etc. Coaches do not need technical expertise, but must be willing to acquire some basic knowledge of the program.

How do I register my team for FIRST® Robotics Competition?

You begin the two-level registration process with national FIRST® registration. When you complete the short process (around 20 minutes) and pay your registration fee, you will receive:

– An official team number
– Coaches’ Handbook

Once your team is registered with FIRST® nationally, the coach or team representative must register with FIRST® Washington. Registering with FIRST® Washington will allow you to participate in the event registration process in October and the opportunity to compete in local competitions, qualifiers and regional championships.

Please go to the Get Started page on this site to begin the registration process.

Veteran teams are only required to re-new your team profile every year after first registration, to confirm your participation.

Students must register themselves in the team profile each year, to create a network between all competing members, and to ensure all the necessary paperwork is completed.

How do you join an existing team?

If your school or other organization has a FIRST® Robotics Competition team already, approach the coach to see if there is room for another student, and if the deadline has passed.

If your child’s school does not currently have a team, you may want to work with a teacher or administrator there to help form a team within the school.

How long is the season?

The new challenge is released to teams at kickoff in January, which starts the build season that runs through late February. Competition season starts late February and lasts through April, depending on how far your team advances.

I can’t find a team near me. Can I start one?

Absolutely, the easiest way to join a FIRST® Robotics Competition program is to start your own team. Ask your principal if your school has a team; if not, encourage your principal to identify a teacher who would be willing to start a team with your help as a team volunteer. Please let your principal know that FIRST® is a collaborative partnership with private industry professionals and educators to inspire young people towards STEM.

If a school-based team is not a possibility, you may find another youth-focused organization that can help. Scouts, 4-H and other clubs may also support FIRST® teams.

What are the minimum requirements for a FIRST® Robotics Competition team?

What does every FIRST® Robotics Competition team need?

– Two or more adult Mentors with both technical and non-technical expertise willing and motivated to “coach” the team through the build and competition season (and beyond)
– 10 or more high school-aged students willing to put in time after school (and maybe some weekends) and to do any job the team needs to succeed (lots of important jobs available for all skill levels and interests)
– A suitable meeting place
– A suitable space to design and build an industrial-sized robot (about 150 lbs.), that has access to a variety of machine shop power tools
– A standard kit of parts and a common set of rules issued by FIRST
– A community sponsor(s) that will help fund your efforts and provide other support
– The desire to learn, explore, strategize, build comradery, share ideas and talents, make new friends, be accepted, and HAVE FUN!

Who can mentor a FIRST® Tech Challenge team?

Mentors are individuals from all backgrounds and disciplines who work with students to share their knowledge and guide them through the season. Many Mentors contribute on a weekly basis during the program season, or support the team with subject matter expertise on an as needed basis. Teams may have additional or more specialized roles or combine roles as needed.

Who can start a FIRST® Tech Challenge team?

Anyone with an interest in changing lives through STEM can start a team – educators, parents, anyone with the time and motivation. Most teams in Washington are school-based. Others are formed through community organizations such as 4-H, YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, homeschool groups, religious organizations, and even neighborhood groups of friends. If you want to start a school-based team, contact a teacher or administrator to get started.

What is this years challenge?

We’re pushing FIRST® City forward and up into the skies – and shifting the way we think about our place in the galaxy. Check out the official game animation for the FIRST® Tech Challenge SKYSTONE season Presented by Qualcomm.

How old does my child need to be to join a FIRST® Tech Challenge team?

The FIRST® Tech Challenge program is designed for young people ages 12-18 and grades 7-12.

Are there any special skills required to participate?

All skill levels are welcomed and needed, technical and non-technical. Teams need all kinds of skills to succeed, so what are you good at? Chances are we have a job for you. And we’ll probably teach you a few new ones while you’re with us.

Student and adult team members are encouraged to bring any skills they already have, like programming, electronics, metalworking, graphic design, web creation, public speaking, videography, and many more. FIRST® Tech Challenge welcomes every student, with or without special skills.

What kind of training resources are needed for FIRST® Tech Challenge coaches and mentors?

How are teams judged at competitions and what awards are there for FIRST® Tech Challenge teams participating?

At FIRST® Tech Challenge tournaments, there are three parts to the judging process:
1) interview with judges;
2) evaluation of performance during the tournament
3) evaluation of the engineering notebook.

Each team will have a ten to fifteen minute “fact-finding” interview with a panel of two or three judges. At the start of the interview, students will get a minimum of 5 minutes to present to the judges. After the Team’s five-minute presentation, the Judges will have the opportunity to ask questions about the Team, the Robot, outreach efforts, etc.

The judges’ interviews take place before any Qualification Matches so the entire team may be interviewed. When teams arrive at the tournament, the interview schedule should be included in the registration materials. Teams must know when they will be interviewed and arrive to the interview room early. Each team should have at least two student team representatives and the robot available; the entire team is encouraged to join
in. Mentors (no more than two) are welcome to watch the Judges’ Interview at most tournaments but cannot take part in the interview.

Teams may not opt out of judges’ interviews. Teams may attend
their scheduled judges’ interviews if their robots have not passed inspection.

Here are additional resources for FTC Tournament judging.

Educator Questions

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