FLL Challenge:Robot Design

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During the Robot Design portion of FLL Challenge judging, teams talk about their design strategy, explain why certain decisions were made, and describe how their attachments evolved. Teams are evaluated based on their design process more than whether or not the robot works. Note that there is no competition table at Robot Design judging, so judges will not be able to see the robot run a mission.


FLL teams are judged on the following criteria (taken from the FIRST Robot Design Rubrics)[1]:

  • IDENTIFY - Team had a clearly defined mission strategy and explored building and coding skills they needed.
  • DESIGN - Team produced innovative designs and a clear work plan, seeking guidance as needed.
  • CREATE - Team developed an effective robot and code solution matching their mission strategy.
  • ITERATE - Team repeatedly tested their robot and code to identify areas for improvement and incorporated the findings into their current solution.
  • COMMUNICATE - Team’s explanation of the robot design process was effective and showed how all team members have been involved.

Possible Judge Questions

  • How did you decide which missions to do?
  • What improvements did you make over the season?
  • Who did which missions?
  • Did everyone program, or just a few team members?
  • How did you come up with the design for X attachment?


Robot Design
  • Decide which missions to do and in what order within the first few weeks of the season and document why those choices were made. This is game strategy, and the judges want to hear about these decisions. Coaches should keep reminding the team about these decisions so that they are able to describe them at the competition. It is easy to forget the reason for these decisions when the season goes on for a few months.
  • Keep as many failed attachments as possible. Judges like to see what the team tried and what improvements were made.
  • Understand the Engineering Process and be able to describe it. Many teams are already using the process, but don’t know it. If a team is able to describe what they did in the context of the Engineering Process, they will be well prepared for the competition.
  • Use MyBlocks where appropriate. MyBlocks help with reusability and code organization.
  • Understand what the reusability is and how MyBlocks helped with it.
  • For code organization, MyBlocks help to group operations together so the code isn't one super long list of blocks
  • Add comments to the code, but don’t describe what the code is doing; instead, describe what it is for (i.e. why the robot is doing it). Judges can understand what the blocks do, but they don’t always understand why the block is there. Comments help the judges understand the objectives and also reminds team members about talking points during judging.

Additional Resources


  1. "FLL Challenge Rubrics" (pdf). firstinspires.org. Retrieved 1 July 2021.