It’s way more than building robots.
FIRST LEGO League teams (up to 10 members, grades 4-8) research a real-world problem such as trash, food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS®, then compete on a table-top playing field.
It all adds up to tons of fun while they learn to apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM), plus a big dose of imagination and innovating, to solve a problem. Along their discovery journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges. They also practice Core Values.
Each team’s season typically concludes with a capstone tournament. All teams may register to compete at a November Qualifier Tournament and ~25% of teams are invited to advance to a Championship Tournament based on the team’s overall evaluation for Robot, Project and Core Values.
Most Northern California Qualifier tournaments have 16 teams and are planned to last approximately 10 hours (8am to 6pm) on a Saturday or Sunday in November. There are 4 Northern California Championship tournaments and these are scheduled across our region on a Saturday or Sunday between December and February. Each Championship tournament has between 36 and 48 teams and are planned for approximately 11 hours (7:30am to 6:30pm) with most volunteer roles needed from 7:30am to 6pm.
Why volunteer ?
- Make a difference in the lives of young people
- Help kids discover the fun in science and technology
- Help young people apply real-world math and science concepts
- Network with like-minded professionals
- Help celebrate science and technology
And these key Tournament Roles
- Robot Design Judge – Interviews the teams about their robot including mechanical, programming and game strategy. Works with other judges to assign awards to teams. Help hand out awards and High 5’s.
- Project Judge – Interviews the teams about their project which will provide an innovative solution to a problem identified within this year’s theme, Animal Allies. Works with other judges to assign awards to teams. Help hand out awards and High 5’s.
- Core Values Judge – Interviews the teams about their teamwork, core values, collaboration and overall team structure. Works with other judges to assign awards to teams. Help hand out awards and High 5’s.
- Judge Advisor – Facilitates the overall judging process.
- Game Referee / Head Referee – Responsible for reading and enforcing the game rules and scoring each match. Works as a team under the direction of the Head Referee.
- Master of Ceremony / Emcee – Sets the tone of the event and is responsible for the Welcome and Closing ceremonies.
- Game Announcer – Working with the Emcee, the game announcer helps with team introductions, game play commentary and reporting scores.
- Photographer – Takes pictures of each team and helps to capture the overall event.
When & Where are the Northern California FLL Tournaments?
How to volunteer for a FLL Tournament
- Are you volunteering on behalf of a registered NorCal FIRST LEGO League Team? Instructions
- Create a volunteer profile in the FIRST Volunteer Information and Matching System (VIMS) FAQ.
- Once an event is posted (expected by early October), you can apply to volunteer at the event into one or more roles. The event’s Volunteer Coordinator will assign you to a specific role and communicate the details including any training requirements.
- You will receive a system-generated acknowledgement email that you have Applied (but are not yet assigned) for a volunteer role. The subject line will be, “<event name> Volunteer Message – Volunteer Role Application Confirmation” and come from firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Complete the background screening with Verified Volunteers
- You do not need to provide your Taxpayer ID (SSN) or pay anything
- Once you have passed the background screening, you will be ASSIGNED into a specific role and will receive an email with any specific training requirements for the role as well as details about the event.
- Please read and become familiar with the FIRST Youth Protection Program and FIRST Standards of Conduct and NorCalFLL’s Volunteer policy.