FIRST LEGO League - Aug 2013 testing page - working on videos

Welcome to the main information page for the Los Altos Robotics First LEGO League (FLL) program. On this page you will find:

Be sure and check out the 2013 FLL Season Announcements on the Los Altos Robotics Homepage to find recent announcements.

Los Altos Robotics FIRST LEGO League 2013 Calendar

May - Mid September 2013 National FLL Team Registration period for all teams, including all Los Altos Robotics teams.  It is best to register in early August to get your materials in time for the start of the season.  Materials includes the Field Setup kit and optionally a NXT Mindstorms or EV3 kit if your team does not already have one.  Register your team at the National FLL Team registration site.  Registration closes when they run out of team slots or September 30, 2013.
Late Summer 2013 Challenge Field Setup kits (and NXT Mindstorms or EV3 kit, if ordered) begin to ship to teams registered with National FLL
August 27, 2013, 9 AM PDT Nature's Fury Challenge announced on web site. Most teams start practices this week.
Tue, August 27 and Tue, September 3, 2013 7:30 PM Los Altos Robotics parent orientation meetings from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm at Mountain View High School in room 521. Event sponsored by Mountain View High School 971 FRC Spartan Robotics team.  Google Map with green markers in the student parking lot (A) and close to the front door of room 521 (B) Presentation Slides in pdf format.
September 15, 2013 Target date for parents to have their team formed and coaches identified.
Mid-September 2013 Team Registration closes at the national level when all of the slots are filled or on September 30.
Mid-September (TBD) Los Altos Scrimmage sign-ups, including volunteers. Sign-ups will close once all spots are filled. Up to 24 teams can be accommodated.  Watch the Announcements on the home page and/or the TigerBots mailing list for date and registration info.
Mid-September to early October (TBD) NorCal Tournament Pre-Req process is open at NorCalFLL. Teams participating in a Northern California tournament, including Los Altos, must complete this process in order to be able to register for a tournament (see next item).
Early October (TBD) Tournament Registration opens (date subject to change) at NorCalFLL in which you select your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices for a Northern California tournament. Most NorCalFLL tournaments are in the bay area. Teams must have completed the Pre-Req process before registering.
Sun, October 20, 2013 Los Altos Scrimmage at Blach School from noon to 5:00 PM. All visitors are welcome.
Sun, October 20, 2013 Mid-Scrimmage Coaches' Q&A will be held at the scrimmage during the afternoon break.
Sun, November 10, 2013 Project Share-a-thon at Oak Elementary School, 1501 Oak Avenue, Los Altos, CA 94024 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM. Registration for the event will be announced on the TigerBots mailing list and on the home page.
Sun, November 17, 2013 Los Altos Local Tournament at Blach school from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Blach Intermediate School is located at 1120 Covington Rd, Los Altos, CA 94024.   All visitors are welcome.
Sometime in January to February 2014 Northern California FLL State Competition. Find out more about it and other Regional/Qualifying FLL Tournaments at the Northern California FIRST LEGO League website.




The Scrimmage is our mid-season event to let kids practice running the robots under simulated tournament conditions and see what's really working. The scrimmage and tournament have completely independent registrations. The scrimmage is an informal event intended to support local area schools and community. To participate, you register with Los Altos Robotics.

The Tournament is an official FLL qualifier.  Although the Los Altos tournament is organized and run by Los Altos Robotics, you register through NorCal FLL.  Further details on registration for the tournament can be found below.

The Share-A-Thon is an opportunity for kids to share their research project results with the community and get feedback for their presentations prior to the tournament. 

Introduction to FLL and Los Altos Robotics

Los Altos Robotics runs the local FLL tournament and provides information for teams in the community. We do not organize teams but we do provide links to related web sites and have an "I need a team" program to help teams in the local community find other team members. The 2013 Parent Orientation presentation (PowerPoint version) describes the program in Los Altos and is useful. We also provide the TigerBots email list for local event announcements. Send an email to Michael Schuh to be added to this list.

NorCal FLL is the official FLL organizing group in Northern California. They provide information on how to organize and coach teams. They also provide a central registration for all Northern California tournaments including Los Altos. They have a web site, community forum, and email announcement list at , NorCalFLL Community . Make sure you read the NorCalFLL 2012 Schedule/Costs page, attend an upcoming Coach Training (see NorCalFLL web site) and register for a Bay Area tournament when the registration opens in early October. Also join the norcalfll-announce google group, and watch for e-mails to be notified of key events to ensure everything is in order for your team. NorCalFLL will have a regularly updated registration status page once registration for the qualifying tournament is open.  Note that this is separate from FLL team registration, which must be done through the U.S. FLL site.

FLL is a worldwide program with over 16,000 teams involved. The official web site is: FLL Worldwide . They run the official USA FLL team registration site and ship out all Challenge sets and FLL robot kits. For local teams, start with the Los Altos Robotics web site and the NorCalFLL web site to get instructions for organizing your team. You will be directed to the USA web site as needed.

If you would like to promote FLL in Northern California, please make a donation as a corporate sponsor or individual, to the NorCalFLL coordinator, Playing At Learning, a 501c non-profit corporation.

Good luck. If you have any other questions feel free to contact: Michael Schuh MichaelnullLosAltosRobotics.Org, (650) 965-8037Welcome to the main information page for the Los Altos Robotics First LEGO League (FLL) program. On this page you will find: (Home), or (650) 604-1460Welcome to the main information page for the Los Altos Robotics First LEGO League (FLL) program. On this page you will find: (Work)

Overview Documents

The Los Altos Robotics 2012 First LEGO League Flyer (PowerPoint version) is a good 1-page flyer with a brief description and schedule. It advertises the availability of the FLL program to children in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. It has all of the key dates and events for the 2012 season. Feel free to distribute it to anyone you think might benefit from seeing it, such as potential team members and coaches. Many Los Altos schools distribute this flyer in their office.

The Los Altos Robotics FLL Parent Orientation presentation (PowerPoint version) is a 20+ page presentation that describes the program in Los Altos and gives tips on how to form teams. This is a good place to start if you are new to FLL.

The Participating in Los Altos Robotics FLL page gives instructions specific to starting or finding a team, participating in the Los Altos Robotics league, and information on how to register teams for the scrimmage and local competition.

Brief Description of FLL

FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®), created through a partnership between FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and The LEGO Group, inspires future scientists and engineers. In FLL, kids ages 9 to 14 are immersed in real-world science and technology challenges. Teams design their own solution to a current scientific question or problem and build autonomous LEGO robots that perform a series of missions. Through their participation, children develop valuable life skills and discover exciting career possibilities while learning that they can make a positive contribution to society.

Using the LEGO MINDSTORMS Robotics Invention System, teams of students, mentored by coaches, parents and teachers, receive a Challenge which is different every year. Each team is then responsible for the design, construction, programming, and testing of their robot to compete in the Challenge.

The brain of a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot is a micro-computer mounted inside a super-sized LEGO brick. This is called the NXT.

The LEGO MINDSTORMS Robotics Invention Challenge Kit includes an NXT brick, over 700 LEGO pieces, motors, light and touch sensors, gears, a CD-ROM including the NXT code programming environment, and a USB cable to download the program directly into the NXT on a robot.

The What is FIRST video featuring Dean Kamen, Founder of FLL, provides an overview of FIRST, its mission, and the four FIRST programs - Junior FLL, FLL, FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) which span from Kindergarten all the way to 12th grade.



For an inspirational message about the value of science, have your kids watch i.amFIRST: Science is Rock and Roll featuring of the Black Eyed Peas and other celebs like Miley and Justin.




See what FLL is about in this video from the 2004 Los Altos local FLL tournament, No Limits.  (If you have trouble viewing it, try using FireFox or Google Chrome or installing a current version of the Flash player.)



Team Web Sites

We Ate The Mat Web Site:   with links to Open Source NXT Programming Environment.

Los Altos Geek Squad  video of the 2009 award winning robot

Click Here to let us know links to other FLL team web sites.


Starting Your Own Team

Starting teams is an important part of the Los Altos Robotics program. The following documents provide a wealth of information for forming a new team. You do not need to be a technology person to form a robotics team with your child. However, you do need to be dedicated, read the coaching documents that are provided, allocate enough time with kids, and be ready to do a bit of homework. If you, or one of the parents who is helping, can install computer games and get them working when there are minor problems, then you know enough technology to help the kids in case something breaks.

Start by reading Participating in Los Altos Robotics FLL. This page gives instructions specific to starting a team and participating in the Los Altos Robotics league. It also contains the I need a team registration form in the More Ideas for Organizing and Starting a Team section and information on how to register your team for the scrimmage and local competition.

Then look at:

Useful Los Altos Robotics FLL pages

  • FIRST LEGO League Registration FAQ: Answers to the common registration questions that have been sent to Michael Schuh.  Please try checking here before emailing.   You might quickly find your answer.
  • Team Resources such as the Los Altos Robotics Flier and presentations from the Los Altos Robotics Orientation and Coaches Training are archived available. These are the materials that we have created to help people understand the program and form and have better teams.
  • Through the years, Michael Schuh has collected FLL Programming and Design Suggestions and has archived them for all to use.
  • FIRST LEGO League Simple Playing Field Design: Tells about how we have built playing fields for the teams.
  • Competition Results and Files is where you will find the scoring results from past years Los Altos FLL competitions. Also included are the Excel scoring spread sheets and PowerPoint certificate files used in the competitions.
  • Most robotics teams from Los Altos have fun, work hard, and demonstrated gracious professionalism. A few have also been fortunate enough to be recognized at some of the major state and national robotics tournaments. The Los Altos Robotics State and National Team Award Page recognizes those teams and we hope inspires future teams.

Helping Out

It takes a lot of people to help us run the teams and make the tournament a success. We will need help again this year. Please help out however you can and in whatever way is satisfying and fun for you.

  • Teams need Team Coach(1), Assistant Coach(1-2), Team Manager(1), and a Practice Session Host (provide a large room for the team meetings).
  • The tournament volunteer page is where you can learn about how you can help out at a Scrimmage and/or Local Competition. Each team is expected to provide a volunteer for each of the events the team participates in.
  • The Board of Directors has open positions and the people currently holding positions can use some help. Come join us at a Board meeting to see how you can participate! Check the Board of Directors page to see a list of Board members and position, and a schedule of future board meetings.

For More Information

Change Log

26 Aug '13 Updated for 2013 season, Ghosh
16 Sep '12 Updated for 2012 season, Ghosh
28 Sep '10 Updated the calendar, Schuh
25 Sep '10 Added two scrimmage registration links, Schuh
28 Aug '10 First cut at updating for 2010, Schuh
07 Sep '08 Modified registration dates for 2008, Macaluso
01 Aug '08 Updated for 2008, Murray
09 Aug '06 Updated for 2006, Macaluso & Schuh
09 Oct '05 Added Help section, Schuh.
11 Sep '05 Added in short More Info section and reordered the Quick Index, Schuh.
21 Aug '05 Added Resources Area description and link, Schuh.
01 Aug '05 Updated for 2005