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Robotics Programs
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Welcome to White Salmon Valley School District FIRST Robotics!

Our district wants to provide opportunities for our students to pursue careers in science, engineer, math, and technology. Each school is working to provide opportunities for students to engage in after school activities that create a very effective mix of technology, team building, and friendly competition. Students learn to participate in a fun, enriching, and worthwhile experience that is guided by enthusiastic volunteer coaches. No experience is necessary; we are here to help every FIRST participant be successful.  

Three Amazing Programs & One Amazing Community

   Jr. FLL                 FLL                      FTC  

Junior First LEGO League captures young children’s curiosity and directs it toward discovering the wonders of science and technology. This program features a real-world scientific concept to be explored through research, teamwork, construction, and imagination. Guided by adult Coaches, teams use LEGO elements to build a model that moves and develop a Show Me Poster to illustrate their journey.

Children get to  

                    Design and build a challenge-related model using LEGO components
                Create a Show Me Poster and practice presentation skills
                Explore challenges facing today’s scientists
                Discover real-world math and science
                Begin developing teamwork skills
                Choose to participate in expos
                Share what they learn through a virtual expo on the Online Showcase
                Engage in team activities guided by Junior First LEGO League Core Values

First LEGO League children are immersed in real-world science and technology challenges. Teams design their own solution to a current scientific question or problem and build autonomous LEGO robots that perform a series of missions based on an annual theme. Through their participation, children develop valuable life skills and discover exciting career possibilities while learning that they can make a positive contribution to society.

Children get to

                Create innovative solutions to challenges facing today’s scientists
                Strategize, design, build, program, and test an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTROMS technology
                Apply real-world math and science concepts
                Develop career and life skills including critical thinking, time management, collaboration, and communication while                   becoming more self-confident
                Become involved in their local and global community
                Participate in official tournaments and local events
                Engage in team activities guided by First LEGO League Core Values

First Tech Challenge is designed for students who want to compete head to head using an exciting sports model. Teams design, build, and program their robots to compete on a 12’ x 12’ field, in an Alliance format, against other teams. Robots are built from a reusable platform, powered by Android technology, and programmed using Java. Teams including Coaches, Mentors, and Volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles, such as rapid prototyping. Awards are given for the competition, as well as community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.

 Students get to

                Design, build, and program robots
                Model a real-world engineering process
                Apply math and science concepts
                Develop strategic problem-solving, organizational, and team building skills
                Build life skills while building robots and work towards participating in tournaments and World Championship
                Compete and cooperate in Alliances at tournaments
                Qualify for scholarships at over 150 colleges/universities


Links for Overview Information:
Jr. FLL: http://www.ortop.org/jfll/overview.htm#fvc
(Contact Whitson Elementary for Information)
FLL: http://www.ortop.org/fll/overview.htm#FLL 
(Contact Henkle Middle School or Wallace and Pricilla Stevenson Intermediate School)
FTC: http://www.ortop.org/ftc/overview.htm
(Contact Columbia High School)


Jr.First Lego League (Jr.FLL) Quick Facts 

Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL) is an exciting opportunity for the youngest budding scientists. It encompasses the core concepts of all FIRST programs; to inspire, excite, and introduce kids to the wonders of science, technology, and engineering.


  • Teaches the benefits of teamwork
  • Sparks initial interest in science and technology
  • Introduces basic design skills through a hands-on approach with the familiarity and fun of LEGO building
  • Provides a culture of sharing and learning from others

The goal of Jr.FLL is to provide an experience that will capture young children's inherent curiosity and creativity and direct it toward discovering the possibilities of improving the world around them through understanding, thought, planning, and technology.

How it works

This is a very simple and low overhead event. Our goal is for your students to have a rewarding opportunity to investigate a science and technology related theme.

A Jr.FLL team will

  • Receive a challenge (based on the FLL theme)
  • Research and build their project with Legos
  • Create a Show-Me-Board display
  • Have their project reviewed at an exposition

Teams are children from 6 to 9 yrs old. The upper age of 9 is a hard rule. The lower age of 6 is a soft rule.

First Lego League (FLL)


  • FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a robotic competition developed for upper elementary and middle school age students (ages 9-14).
  • Our goals are to inspire students to take an interest in science and technology and begin considering these fields as a career.
  • There are three primary activities:

                1)  Build and program a small robot to accomplish various challenges, 
                2)  Investigate a research topic and present findings at the tournament, and 
                3)  Build a team around FLL Core Values.


  • FLL Teams are 3-10 kids who are in the age range of 9 to 14 years of age.
  • Teams form in schools, clubs, and neighborhood groups. No requirements on affiliation
  • Teams need at least 2 adult coach/mentors to register a team. One or both coaches may attend and run the meetings. 


  • Most teams form up in late spring or early September.
  • Registration opens late spring. Registration usually closes mid to late September
  • The challenge is released in late August
  • State regional qualifier competitions happen all over the state beginning in December. The Semifinal events will be held in mid-January and the State Championship will be held at the end of January.
  • New coaches and mentors will have several opportunities to attend workshops early in the season.


  • There are teams in most areas of the state: Puget Sound area, San Juan Islands, Spanaway, Spokane, Tacoma, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Omak, etc.
  • Qualifiers are held around the state.
  • Many teams meet in school classrooms as an after school club. Basements, garages, and just about any other place works great too.


 FIRST Tech Challenge

FTC is an exciting robotic based program that uses real world technology and programming. Designed for high school and middle school students, it is a program that students with no previous experience with FIRST or other technology can be successful. Using powerful DC motors and the new Tetrix system created by Pitsco and the power of the Android programming environment, it will allow for a wide range of exciting machines to be built.

A tabletop can become workshop for competitive machines to be built. The robotics kit provides motors,  sensors, and the Java programming language as well as metal gears and strong aluminum framing to allow a huge variety of robots to be constructed. A very generous allowance for materials gives teams flexibility to be creative.

Target Group

  • Middle and high school aged students (7th thru 12th)
  • Up to 10 students per team
  • 1 to 3 mentors per team
  • No experience required for students, teachers, or mentors. This project is perfect for teams just getting started in robotics.

Game Format

  • Matches played in a 12 foot by 12 foot field
  • Alliances of robots compete against each other for score
  • Use of sensors, programming, mechanical engineering principles and team work
  • Autonomous and tele-operated phases of play
  • Uneven surfaces, manipulation of objects and navigation

Typical Team Meeting Structure

  • Most teams meet 2 or 3 times a week for 3 hours
  • Typically the last two weeks require teams to meet a few extra times
  • Most teams have a mentor or teacher to help guide and teach, but the students do the majority of the work

Engineering Notebook

Some rookie teams choose not to maintain an engineering notebook. Many of the awards are based on the information contained in the book. Make a strong effort to have the team use the book daily and contain meaningful information about the design/engineering process that the students used. More information about this will be in your teams manual.

The White Salmon Valley School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following employees have been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination.

El Distrito Escolar de White Salmon Valley no discrimina en sus programas o actividades por motivos de sexo, raza, credo, religión, color, origen nacional, edad, condición de veterano de guerra o grado militar, orientación sexual, expresión de género o identidad, discapacidad o uso de perro guía entrenado o animal de servicio, y ofrece igualdad de acceso a los Boy Scouts y a otros grupos de jóvenes especificados. El empleado mencionado a continuación ha sido designado para atender consultas y quejas de supuesta discriminación.