Chicago South GSFC Tournament



Sunday, December 4, 2016

Girls Scout Friendship Center
5100 W. Sunset Lane
Country Club Hills, IL 60478

 Doors Open

 Opening Ceremony  10AM
 Closing Ceremony  4:30 PM

 Food availability

 Food availble for purchase
 Parking instructions & Building entrance  You may park in the free parking lot which is located right in front of the building.

Tournament Coordinator Contact Name Candice Schmidt
 Tournament Coordinator email and telephone



Event Overview

This event has been put together with the kids in mind. They will be occupied by something nearly every minute of the day. The judges will engage the kids with questions and will endeavor to make this a positive experience for all. Some teams will move on to the State event, some teams will get awards, some teams will see their robot crash and burn, but all will be treated like winners.

The tournament will take place at the Girl Scout Friendship Center. Team robotic performance matches will be in the assembly hall, with ample room for spectators to watch, though most everyone crowds around the tables for a closer view. Practice tables and pit areas will also be located in the assembly hall.

One pair of tables will be used for tournament play. Each team will have the opportunity to play four rounds at the table.

Robot Design, Core Values and Project judging will run concurrently during the Robot Performance (Robot Game) rounds. The Robot Design, Core Values and Project judging will take place in rooms throughout the Friendship Center.  Please keep track of when and where you are supposed to be. We would like you to be waiting outside of the room for your presentation at least 5 minutes prior to your start time. Rooms will be clearly marked with signs, and you will receive a schedule and map when you register upon arriving. Maps will also be posted throughout the Friendship Center. There will be queuing managers to help teams keep track of where they’re supposed to be, but ultimately it is the team’s responsibility to be on time and where they need to be. 

There will be a short (hopefully!) break at the end of the tournament while the refs and judges confer on final scores and judging sheets. Call backs may be necessary. You will be notified if judges want to see your team again.  Gather your team and find seats for the awards ceremony in the assembly hall. This is a good time to start asking kids what they did with their coats, boots, glasses, scarves… etc.

Most important of all is to bring a good sense of humor. This tournament is put on entirely by volunteers. Show them your support and appreciation for what they have put together for you. Check your worries and egos at the door. Have fun!

Contact Information on Day of Tournament

Ashley Smith, Qualifying Tournament Coordinator

Contact phone #: 312-835-8191 


What to do when your team arrives

Address of Girl Scout Friendship Center: 5100 Sunset Lane, Country Club Hills, IL 60478

You may pull up in front of the building to unload your stuff, but do not leave your vehicle there. We suggest unloading to the sidewalk (or right inside the building in inclement weather) and then moving your vehicle so that other teams may pull up to unload.  Remember to carry your robot in a safe container!  You may park in the free parking lot which is located right in front of the building.

All teams will have pre-assigned tables in Suite C and D (again, locations will be clearly marked and maps will be available). Please do not re-arrange the tables as we have made these assignments to help judges and runners find your team and help move the tournament along. Be sure your kids know where their table is before they start unloading.

Once you have unloaded and parked your vehicle, coaches should head for the registration table. There you will receive a packet containing the day’s schedule, volunteer instructions and any last minute instructions.

After registration, you and your team can setup at your table and get settled in. Please place your team number in a visible location. Do not remove or cover it up.

Consent Release Forms

Each team needs to bring Consent Release forms, signed, for each student, coach and volunteer attending (NO EXCEPTIONS – Participation is contingent on filled out and signed forms before the opening ceremonies). These will be collected at check in BEFORE you receive your packet.

 Team Information Sheet

The Judges see so many kids/teams during the course of the day. This sheet was designed to help them identify and remember everyone as well as some of their key points. The information sheet is a PDF form (Separate attachment) that should be filled out electronically. Please print out 4 color copies to bring with to the tournament and hand in when you check in.

Required items

You should remember to bring the following items to registration:

  • Video and Photography release forms, signed, for each student attending.
  • Team Introduction Page (at the end of this document)
  • Robot Design Executive Summary (RDES)

If you will need power for laptop computers and recharging robots, you should bring a heavy-duty 3-prong extension cord and a multi-outlet strip. Please mark your extension cord and outlet strip with an easily found ‘flagged’ piece of duct tape and your name with a black marker. This will make it easier for one of your team members to help when it comes time to clean up. 

Schedule of the Day

The tournament will be held on Saturday, December 14, 2013.  The following schedule is subject to change, but should give you an approximate idea of how the day will progress.



Doors Open/Registration


Opening Ceremonies


Matches / Research & Technical Presentations, Teamwork Judging


Clean pit area, Score Tallying


Awards & Closing Ceremonies


Final cleaning check

Team Volunteers

As a condition of participating in this tournament,each team is required to provide a volunteer to be assigned duties throughout the day. We will give instructions for your volunteer when your team registers that morning. Please email me ( with the name of your volunteer prior to the tournament. 

No-Show Policy

Any teams that, for any reason, are unable to attend the tournament need to notify Ashley Smith via e-mail ( as soon as possible after learning of such reason. Those teams that are unsure and think that they may be unable to attend the event are asked to e-mail Ashley Smith a cell phone number. This is so that we have a means to contact you if you have not checked in by 10:00AM yet and we can make sure you will still be attending or not.

Food and Refreshments

During the tournament, food and drinks will be available for purchase, including donuts in the morning and pizza slices, popcorn, and snacks around lunch time.  You may choose to bring in food also. Please limit food consumption to the assembly hall and Suites C and D (pit area).

 Tounament T-Shirt

We will no longer have a supply of t-shirts available for sale at the qualifiers.

We have created a t-shirt that is now being offered for sale for $19.99 at Merch by Amazon at this link: The shirts will be delivered directly to you from Amazon.

We are excited to offer teams a choice of 5 shirt colors and a full range of sizes. We hope you will find the new process easy to use and enjoy the flexibility of this new process. FIRST Illinois Robotics, the non-profit organization that delivers the FLL program in Illinois, will receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every t-shirt. 

Please pass this link along to team members and families who may be interested in having a shirt to show their enthusiasm at our events.

Lightweight, Classic fit, TearAway label, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem

  • 4.5 oz 100% Combed Ringspun Cotton, machine wash cold with like colors, dry low heat

 Oranaments will be for sale for $7 each at the qualifying tournament.  Ornaments make a great coaches gift with signatures from team members!  See below for the image.

2015 Trash Trek TShirt 

Tournament Ornament:



2015 Trash Trek Ornament

Site Rules for the Day

Please observe the following rules:

  • Please plan to stay after the tournament to make sure your pit area is cleaned up.
  • DO NOT wander the building! Everyone must stay within the competition area (limited to the competition rooms, pits, presentation rooms, and the hallway connecting those). 

Transporting your robot during the event

It will happen… someone will drop their robot and watch the parts explode in a million directions. It’s not pretty. You might consider a plastic container for carrying your robot during the event. If it drops you have a better chance of collecting all of the parts and re-assembling it.

Pit Area Information

The pit is the area where teams can come between performance rounds, judging, etc. Like an auto race, the teams come here to tune up their robots, exchange parts, etc. Each team will have a table, seats and some space. Limited power outlets will be available near the pit areas.  Please practice Gracious Professionalism in using power outlets.  We will need to share outlets. Essentials for your pit area include: Extension cord, power strip, duct tape, masking tape, pens, paper, laptop, robot, spare lego parts, battery charger or fresh batteries, props for your project presentation, a small tub to carry the robot to and from the competition tables, and maybe a large sterilite tub to carry all your stuff into the building and later provide a place for coats and belongings while in the building. A banner or flag is fun and a great way to show team spirit. SWOPs like buttons, giveaways, or small candies are fun but not essential. You'll see those less at your regional qualifier but more at state. But they're always fun and appreciated.

Practice tables will be located in the assembly hall. These tables are for testing your robots and making last minute changes. Teams need to limit their time to 5 minutes and then letting another team use the table to respect the needs of others.

The practice tables should run similar to that of the performance rounds. No more than two students should be allowed up at the practice table. All other team members should stand back. This helps us keep track of valuable pieces.

Practice tables, as well as the competition tables make use of challenge kits that are generously donated for the day. Please respect the property and take care of the challenge pieces as if they were your own.


Rules for Competition Area

Official FLL rules for tournament play along with commonly asked questions and answers are located at:    

Team members at the table will have a brief time to inspect the playing surface and prepare your robot for tournament play. Coaches and Students should not touch any table elements. If you think something is improperly setup on the tournament table, the referee should be notified immediately so that it may be corrected.

Touching the robot is not allowed after it leaves the base. If this happens a penalty will be given and the team made to return the robot to base. Make sure team members understand this rule.

Parts of the robot may remain on the playing surface at the end of the round without penalty. However, any components of the robot that fall off or are moved into the field during the performance may not be retrieved to try again. The referee may be asked to remove any items during the performance round, be it robot pieces or field pieces. But no items removed will be considered in the final score, nor will they be returned to the team during the performance round.

The score is determined at the END of the match, based on the condition of the field at that time only. This means that points won’t be awarded for successful missions that the robot accidentally trashes before the match ends.


Scoring Overview

The top few teams will advance to the State Tournament based of an equal weighting of the following categories, plus finish in the top 50% of the Robot Performance Scoring.

  • Technical Judging
  • Research Presentation Judging
  • Core Values Judging

About 25% of the teams will advance from each of the Qualifier Tournaments to the State Tournament in February 2014. 

 The Research Presentation

Teams should keep track of when their presentation time is getting close. Please be waiting outside the Presentation room at least 5 minutes early for your assigned time.

‘Queuing managers’ will be around to help make sure all teams are where they are supposed to be, but ultimately it is your team’s responsibility to be on-time to everywhere you need to be. Once inside, you will meet with the judges for your presentation and interview.

Coaches… this is where you step back and watch. It’s their turn… the students. You’ve done your job as coach. Now it’s up to them to put on the presentation that they have practiced… finished and refined or unfinished and in dire need of a polish. That’s ok. The Presentation judges, in fact all of the judges, have been told to go the extra length to make these kids feel special. This tournament is meant to be a celebration of their achievements. The judges will do their best to put the kids at ease and give them time to get ready.

Teams will have up to 5 minutes to present their research and innovative solution to a panel of judges. Teams will be evaluated based on their knowledge and understanding of the problem, how they developed their robotic solution as well as the content of the presentation and the manner in which it is presented. Possible styles include skits, plays, posters, scaled models, etc. Any presentation style is welcome, but it should provide a clear explanation of the team's research and robotic solution. There is no right or wrong answer to the research assignment. Note: if you need any equipment for your presentation (computer, projector, etc.) it is up to your team to provide it as well as set it up.

A short question and answer period will follow by the Presentation judges.  When done, your team should return to the pit area and your team table. The whole process should be about twenty minutes.

The Technical Judging Process

The Technical Judges may wish to view your team robot and ask you about its design. Again, you the coach are asked to take a ‘back-step” and allow the kids to do the talking. We encourage you to be silent and not to interfere or offer help with the students’ answers. The judges will direct their questions to the kids. That’s your cue. You may want to bring code samples to help explain creative software solutions. The students should introduce themselves and be encouraged to chat with the judges. They are there to make your day all the more fun!

New this year, in an effort to improve the technical judging process, is the Robot Design Executive Summary (RDES) requirement:

To help the Robot Design judges quickly and consistently learn about your robot and the design process used, we are requiring a short presentation. An “executive summary” is often used by engineers to briefly outline the key elements of a product or project. In other words, the purpose of the RDES is to give the Robot Design judges an outline of your robot and all that it can do. The RDES is intended to help your team consider in advance the most important information to share with the judges. What you chose to share will enable the judges to effectively evaluate your team and provide more helpful feedback.

Your team is free to determine how much time you invest, but realistically it should only take a few hours to develop and practice the RDES. The RDES is NOT intended to be as extensive or time consuming as your Project.

Your team will present your RDES at the beginning of your Robot Design judging session. The entire presentation, including the trial run, should not take any longer than four (4) minutes. Following your Robot Design presentation the judges will pose questions for your team to answer. You are not required to provide a written version of the RDES to leave with the judges.

Basic Outline: The RDES should include the following elements: Robot Facts, Design Details, and a short Trial Run.

Robot Facts: Share with the judges a little bit about your robot, such as the number and type of sensors, drivetrain details, number of parts, and the number of attachments. The judges would also like to know what programming language you used, the number of programs and the amount of memory used by each program, and your most consistently completed mission.

Design Details:
1. Fun: Describe the most fun or interesting part of robot design as well as the most challenging parts. If your robot has a name, who chose the name and why. If your team has a fun story about your robot please feel free to share.
2. Strategy: Explain your team’s strategy and reasoning for choosing and accomplishing missions. Talk a little bit about how successful your robot was in completing the missions that you chose. Judges may like to hear about your favorite mission and why it is your favorite.
3. Design Process: Describe how your team designed your robot and what process you used to make improvements to your design over time. Briefly share how different team members contributed to the design and how you incorporated all the ideas.
4. Mechanical Design: Explain to the judges your robot’s basic structure, how you make sure your robot is durable and how you made it easy to repair or add/remove attachments. Explain to the judges how the robot moves (drivetrain), and what attachments and mechanisms it uses to operate or complete missions.
5. Programming: Describe how you programmed your robot to ensure consistent results. Explain how you organized and documented your programs, as well as, mention if your programs use sensors to know (and ensure) the location of the robot on the field.
6. Innovation: Describe any features of your robot design that you feel are special, different or especially clever.

Trial Run: Demonstrate the operation of your robot for the judges performing the mission(s) of your choice. Please do not do an entire robot round; time will be needed for judges to ask questions of your team.



Core Values Judging

The Core Values Judges will interview the whole team and ask questions pertaining to how the team has worked together to exhibit the core values.  Please note that the Core Values Poster is no longer a requirement.

The FLL Core Values are the cornerstones of the FLL program. They are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FLL from other programs of its kind. By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.

  • We are a team.
  • We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
  • We know our coaches and mentors don't have all the answers; we learn together.
  • We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
  • What we discover is more important than what we win.
  • We share our experiences with others.
  • We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do.
  • We have FUN!



How to treat your refs and judges…

This is not the NFL. We don’t do replays, even when you have captured it on your camcorder. If a ref misses something during a performance round… then it is missed. It’s called life and life happens. Sometimes the mistake is in your favor and sometimes it’s against.

Our refs and judges are going to do the best they can. They are knowledgeable and have a commitment to fairness.  They are volunteering their time and efforts.  Please show them the respect they deserve at all times.

Protect Your Robot

For RCX users - There may be computers with infrared transmitters around on competition day. All infrared transmitters are required to be on low power but if your robot is too close and turned on it could be a tragedy! Turn the sensitivity of your RCX down to short range and protect your programs!

Use caution in walking around the room carrying your robot while it is turned ON!

It is strongly recommended to use a piece of black electrical tape over the RCX infrared window to prevent accidental erasure of your programs. Some teams bring a small cardboard box and are careful to place the box over the robot and infrared transmitter before turning on the robot. In this way they can re-program their robot without worry of other transmitters.

Rookie coaches… if you have been working with a single RCX and computer for programming during the season, you may not realize the significance of the statements above. Other computers nearby CAN re-program or hinder the ability of your own computer to program your robot. Take the precautions mentioned above.



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