Four Erie Teams Qualify For the Western PA FLL Robotics Grand Championship

On November 10, 2012 robotics teams from all across the Erie Area came together for a day of fun and excitement at the Junker Center of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.

The top four teams not only won awards for their achievements, the also became the first four teams to qualify for the Western PA FLL Robotics Grand Championship!  Congratulations to:

  • Team 1220 – The Electronic Jackets
  • Team 2686 – The Super Senior Squad
  • Team 3226 – The Electric Dreams, and
  • Team 5043 – The Rams Team S

You are awesome and we look forward to seeing you in Pittsburgh on January 19th, 2013!

Who is Responsible for The Massive Growth of Robotics Curricula in Western PA Schools?

The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy has been the driving force behind the striking growth in robotics-based education both in Western PA and globally.  They are committed to using the motivational effects of robotics to excite students about science and technology. The Robotics Academy is an educational outreach of Carnegie Mellon University, and part of the university’s world-renowned Robotics Institute. Administrative staff and development team are housed in the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC), where robots for business, government, and industry are designed, prototyped, and tested just outside their office doors.

In addition The Robotics Academy has been the Western PA USFIRST Operational Partner for more than a decade, leading the efforts in our region around the FIRST Lego League, the FIRST Tech Challenge and the FIRST Robotics Competition.  They make all of this fun possible!

You can learn more at



The Scrimmages Are Wrapped Up… Get Ready for the Regional Majors

After several weekends of fun, the Western PA FLL Tournament Scrimmages officially wrapped up this past weekend.  We would like to especially thank the Ellis School and Lisa Abel-Palmieri, Sewickley Academy and Stephanie Roccon, Shady Side Academy and Matt Brunner, The Young Scholars of Western PA and Serhat Sen, and Saints Peter and Paul School and Kevin Selavko for hosting these events and for making them such grand successes.  It has been a real pleasure to see so many teams getting experience early in the season, learning from their experiences, and being able to incorporate those learnings as they advance to the next level.  It was fantastic to see iterative engineering come alive!

Scheduled Events for This Year’s Western PA FLL Robotics Tournament

 Scrimmages – Easy opportunities to just come out and try parts of the challenge, to get new ideas and to serve as a gentle “forcing function” for teams to make progress.  Participation in the Scrimmages is completely optional.

  • Oct 27, 2012 – Ellis School Armory, Pittsburgh
  • Nov 3, 2012 – Sewickley Academy, Sewickley
  • Nov 10, 2012 – Shady Side Academy, Fox Chapel
  • Nov 17, 2012 – Sts. Peter & Paul School, Beaver
  • Nov 17, 2012 – Young Scholars of Western PA, Pittsburgh

Regional Majors – The big events! Comprehensive, fully-judged, major robotics competitions.  Awards will be provided to the top performers at each Regional Major event for Table Performance, Robot Design, Programming, Research/Project, Teamwork, and Overall Excellence (across categories).

  • Dec 1, 2012 – Alpha School / La Roche College, Allison Park
  • Dec 8, 2012 – Shady Side Academy, Fox Chapel
  • Dec 15, 2012 – Sewickley Academy, Sewickley
  • Dec 15, 2012 – Sarah Heinz House, Pittsburgh
In addition to the awards, the top 4 overall performers at each regional event will earn “Golden Tickets” that will automatically advance them to the January Grand Championship.  Other high-performing teams (roughly the top 50-60%) will be put into the pool of teams that will be considered across all of the regionals to fill out the final field of 48 teams for the January Championship.  The determination of which teams will go to the Championship from this pool will be made by the tournament committee by the 18th  of December .

The Grand Championship (for the top 48 teams coming out of the Regional Majors)

  • Jan 19, 2013 –National Robotics Engineering Center, Lawrenceville, PA

Welcome to Another Season of First Lego League in Western Pennsylvania

Based on the steady growth of FLL teams in Western PA, the hands-on value of iterative engineering and the desire of so many teams to compete in more than just a single event, we have made the significant investment to expand into a full Western PA FLL Tournament Series and Championship.

This means that every team will have the opportunity to participate and compete in more than one event this year – from optional low pressure scrimmages in the November time frame, to up to three Major Regional Competitions in December, and, if they advance – to the Grand Championship on January 19th at the National Robotics Engineering Center!  Teams will have the opportunity to try things out earlier, to get more competitive experience, and to make adjustments between events and gain from their experience. Based on the Steering Committee’s input and feedback, we are aiming to make this as fulfilling of an experience as possible for all of our teams.