COSI Tournament – Lessons Learned

LIke my recap after our State Tournament, here are a few new lessons we learned from our FLL Tournament at COSI this morning:



  • Develop on 2 or 3 identical eV3 robots to ensure consistency and have reliable backups for tournaments
  • Be careful of using too may MyBlocks, have multiple levels of complexity to demonstrate knowledge yet have guaranteed working version
  • Gear Chains are not realiable, if used, use 2x or 3x in parallel for redundency
  • Have modular sections that can easily be added/removed from body


  • Go over rubric carefully and know what will be asked in every judging room
  • Prepare for judges who are in a bad mood, distracted, hostile as well as ideal judges
  • Be in control, don’t let judges or other team members get off script or derail presentation
  • Memorize the scoring rubric and be sure to answer everyone – the judges may not always ask you every questions or give you time to answer them either
  • Take control, answer the ruberic questions without prompting in order to make it easier on the judges
  • Be ready to assert yourself and keep presentations focused, advancing and on time


  • Cannot waste valuable meeting time, especially right before tournament
  • Individuals have to commit, especially in the critical run-up to tournament
  • Need to have code freeze week before tournament and just tune up
  • Must practice our sketch for a variety of potential judges and have waybacks

UPDATE: 1/15/2016

I spoke with a parent and previous volunteer FLL judge from Granville, OH about our unexpected experience at the COSI Tournament.  She said that some judges are aggressive in searching out and disqualifing any team they suspect of too much parental involvement.  It may just have been a bad judgement call by a newbie FLL judge to so judge our Research Project so extremely low.

In retrospect, it probably was a tactical mistake to sign-up for a brand new tournament at COSI with so many rookie teams from Columbus City Schools.  As a vetran team that went to the State Championships last season and spent over 100 hours on our Research Project this season, out kids probably looked unlike anything our judges expected the first thing in the morning juding their first tournament.  It’s probably understandable they didn’t believe our kids could do such work given their frame of reference at that time.


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