Pittsburgh FIRST



Official FIRST FLL website: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/fll

2013-2014 Season 

Schedule for the Western PA FLL Tournament Series and Championship

(ALSO – scroll down for PAST EVENTS)

Planned Regional Majors (comprehensive, fully-judged, major robotics competitions.  Awards will be provided to the top performers at each Regional Major event for Table Performance, Robot Design/Programming, Research/Project, Teamwork, and Overall Excellence (across categories).  The Top 4 overall performers at each regional event will also be automatically advanced to the January Grand Championship.  Other teams will be added to a pool of teams that will be ranked across all of the Regional Majors to determine the final competitive field for the Grand Championship.

   •    Jan 4, 2014     -  Regional Major Hosted by The Alpha School and LaRoche College (qualifying event) - Laraoche College from 8:00AM to 4:00PM

   •    Jan 11, 2014     -  Regional Major Hosted by Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy (qualifying event)  from 8:00AM to 4:00PM

Note that your team may participate in multiple Regional Majors (subject to availability).  These Regional Major tournaments are designed to be the main events of the Robotics Season.  Success at one of these Regional Majors is the only path to the Western PA FLL Grand Championship.

Western PA FLL Grand Championship:  For the teams that qualify, this will be the premier competitive event of the season.  The top teams in Western PA will come together for a day of fun and competition hosted at Carnegie Robotics’ newly renovated space in Pittsburgh.  As many of you are aware, we needed to find a new space for the FLL championship and we are extremely grateful to Carnegie Robotics for opening up this opportunity for us.  Carnegie Robotics is building a world class robotics innovation and production facility and is generously offering to provide their inspirational facility for the STEM-crazed FLL Teams when the space is finished in February.

February 22, 2014  –  Western PA FLL Grand Championship hosted by Carnegie Robotics (note, this is a new location for FLL) from 8:00 to 5:00

Registration for all of these  Western PA FLL Tournament Series events opened October 1st.  The cost per team to participate in the tournament series will be a flat $135 and cover as many events as desired (subject to space availability or successful advancement).  We have sent teams a final schedule and a specific registration link to all Western PA FLL Teams (10/1/13).  Teams will be registered for Scrimmages and Regional Events on a first-come/first-served basis.  So it will be important to discuss your preferences with team members in advance so that sign-ups can get processed quickly.

New Rule for Team Participation – Need to Provide Judges!

Finding enough volunteer judges has always been the biggest challenge in putting on these events, yet we have lots of kids and teams that participate in the FLL Community.  This year, in addition to our marvelous legacy volunteer judges, we are looking to the teams to help recruit and provide additional judges.

As such, this year it is mandatory for each participating team to provide at least one judge that can work the event that your team is participating in (or an alternate event).  Judging is a lot of fun, particularly compared to sitting around all day, and based on our experience there are lots of team parents who would be excellent at judging.  The volunteer judge cannot be the head coach.  Please solicit your judge volunteers immediately as that information will be required during event registration (starting October 1st).  The Robotics Academy will be providing Training to all volunteer judges and so we will want to get the full list of folks for each event finalized in early October.

Note this applies primarily to the Regional Majors and the Championship events (not the scrimmages).  If you are able to provide multiple judges at events, that would be even more helpful.  Judges are of course excluded from evaluating teams where there is a potential conflict of interest.

We are looking forward to another fantastic FLL Season and appreciate the major investment that you all are making in the lives and futures of your students.



•    Dec 7, 2013     Regional Major Hosted by Sewickley Academy (qualifying event)

    Dec 14, 2013     -  Regional Major Hosted by Shady Side Academy (qualifying event):  8:00AM to 3:00PM. 500 Squaw Run Rd E, Pittsburgh PA 15238


The Western Pennsylvania FLL Advisory Board developed a refined set of judging rubrics for this year’s tournament series.

The rubrics were refined to clarify and streamline judging, but will have similar emphases to prior years.  All teams will receive copies of these rubrics by Oct 26, the date of the first scrimmage.

Planned Scrimmages (low-pressure opportunities to come out as a team for the robot portion only – to try out parts of the challenge, get new ideas and help serve as a gentle “forcing function” for teams to be making progress.  Participation in the Scrimmages is lots of fun, but completely optional for teams (so there’s no need to panic).   The dates for the Scrimmages will be:

   •    Oct 26             -  Shady Side Academy, Sewickley, PA

   •    Nov 2              -  Sewickley  Academy, Pittsburgh, PA

   •    Nov 9              -  Westminster College , New Wilmington, PA

                                                   -  The Ellis School, Pittsburgh, PA

   •    Nov 16           -  Saints Peter and Paul School, Beaver, PA

   •    Nov 23           -  (currently open for additional scrimmages to be scheduled)

Live training events for Coaches:

New Coach Training - Thursday, October 3rd from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at NREC (Ten 40th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201) - This session discusses the basics of coaching an FLL Team, gives tips on how to approach things, how to help your team stay sane and reviews resources that are available to you.

Online Coaches Meeting for All Coaches - Wednesday, October 9th at 7:00 p.m. via WEBEX  - This session will be aimed at reviewing and discussing the specifics of the Nature’s Fury Challenge, the Western PA Tournament Structure, rules and officiating/judging.

FLL in Western PA

The Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Academy is the official FLL Operational Parter in Western PA. See the links below for more info; also see www.PAFLL.com

FLL NXT Free Training Resources:   http://www.cmuroboticsacademy.com/

LEGO Robots and Resources:  http://www.education.rec.ri.cmu.edu/content/lego/

FIRST TeamUp:  https://my.usfirst.org/FIRSTPortal/login/fc_login.aspx?s=fc

  • Looking to join a team?
  • Looking for more team members?
  • Looking for a mentor or to mentor a team?
  • Or are you just looking to connect with others interested in FLL?

Sign up for FIRST TeamUp today! https://my.usfirst.org/FIRSTPortal/login/fc_login.aspx?s=fc

Shortcut to FLL – 2013-14 – Nature’s Fury – Events in Pennsylvania:  http://goo.gl/oV8EUH

We are grateful to the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Academy for being the FIRST LEGO League Operational Partner in Western PA. Organizing and running our region’s Championship Tournament – plus qualifying tournaments, scrimmages, coach training sessions, and more – requires a significant amount of time, effort, resources, and the tireless work of many, many volunteers. Thank you!