There are four judging components to the FIRST LEGO League Challenge: Core Values, Project, Robot Design, and Robot Game. Each session is weighted equally (one-fourth each) when judges consider teams for the Champions Award. Teams must attend all three judging sessions to be eligible for any Core Awards at the tournament. Each team will have an assigned time slot in which to report to their assigned judging block (as designated on the team schedules).  Please arrive 5-10 minutes before your scheduled time.  The Queuing Staff will help teams get to their scheduled events on time.

Teams travel through judging sessions using the Judging Block schedule. This means that teams will attend all three judging sessions in one 45-minute window (with no robot game matches during this time).  There will be 3-4 judging blocks at each tournament, so a portion of the teams will be in judging at any given time.  In the event of a conflict between the Robot Game match schedule and the judging schedule, teams will attend their judging sessions.  The Head Referee will schedule additional matches as needed. 

Each section is briefly detailed below.  Teams are not allowed to enter the room prior to the start of their judging session. Teams may be disqualified from that session for entering the room prior to the allowed time.

Only Coaches wearing the Coach Badge are permitted to be in the judging rooms.  All other adults/mentors must wait outside.  Additionally, coaches must sit in the provided chairs during the entirety of the session.  Coaches may video record from the provided chairs, as long as the act of video recording is not distracting to the Judges or Team Members.

Please remember that judges will consider input from other event volunteers who interact with teams. It is important that team members, parents, and coaches all should be demonstrating the Core Values throughout the event day. 

Teams are expected to complete the Team Judging Profile online through MyCVR.  Judges will use this information to assist in deliberations. 

Overview and Expectations of the Three Sessions

Core Values

The Core Values judging session evaluates the unity and teamwork skills of each team.

When the team enters the room, the judges will present a teamwork challenge. The team will then be observed for five minutes and evaluated on how well the team works together. The team does not necessarily need to complete the challenge in five minutes; they just need to attempt it.  Some sample items that the judges will look for:

  • Does the team collect ideas as a group to solve the problem, or does one person take charge and only follows their idea?
  • Does the team work jointly on the problem, or split off into separate groups to problem solve on their own?
  • Does one member do all the work, or does every member contribute to the problem-solving process?

After the five minutes have passed, the judges will interview each team for the remainder of the session. They will ask the team about their season and their experiences working as a team. They also will look at how effective a team is at getting other teams and individuals excited about science and technology while gaining awareness and understanding about the world and themselves. Also, judges will look at how the team applies the Core Values throughout the whole season. Finally, the judges will evaluate the team's understanding of Gracious Professionalism™ and the Core Values.

Rubrics and Resources

Core Values Poster

The Challenge Guide details a tool called the Core Values Poster for the Core Values Judging Session.  Central Valley Robotics does not use the Core Values Poster, and we recommend teams do not prepare a poster for judging sessions in our area.


The Project judging session evaluates the team's Project research and presentation. Teams will present their research, solution, and how they shared with the community to the Project judges at the tournament. More information about the project is available on

Each team will be allotted 5 minutes to setup and present their research project.  The timer starts when the team enters the room.  There will be a 5-minute Q&A session following the team’s presentation, for a total of 10 minutes in the Project judging room. Please do everything you can to make your presentation portable, mobile, and easy to setup and take down, as the time constraints in the judging rooms are very tight. Make sure anything your team wants the judges to know is in the Project Presentation. 

For the Project judging session, Coaches may assist with setup of bulky or large objects prior to sitting in their required chairs.  Once the judges have dismissed the team, Coaches may assist with cleanup of bulky or large objects.  (Note: this is not a full exemption from any Coach Involvement concerns.  Excessive setup assistance may result in investigative action from event officials.)

See the Event Page on our website for more information. No equipment will be provided (i.e. – projector, screen, computers, etc.).  Additionally, there is no guarantee that event sites will provide internet access for team use.  If a team’s project relies on internet access, we encourage them to have a backup plan if internet access is not available.  At some events, judging sessions will take place in classrooms.   Teams are not allowed to use any materials in the room that are owned by the venue or school site.

There are three key components to the Project.   To be eligible for Project Awards, Advancement, or Champions Awards, teams must demonstrate the following three components:

  1. Research and Identify a problem
  2. Create an innovative solution to the problem
  3. Share your research and solution outside of the team.  Teams must share before the event day.

Rubrics and Resources       

Robot Design

The Robot Design judging session evaluates the team's Robot characteristics and performance. Each team must bring their robot(s), any and all manipulators, and a printed copy of code to this session.  If a team has multiple robots, all robots must be present during the session. To assist the judges in deliberations, also upload a picture of your robot to the Team Judging Profile on MyCVR.

When the team enters the room, the judges will introduce themselves and start the process of interviewing the team.  Each Robot Design judging session will be slightly different as judges begin interviewing each team.  It is important to note that judges have a set of criteria to evaluate, but each set of judges might use a different process to get there.  Additionally, the uniqueness of each team and robot also causes different experiences for each judging session.  The judges will interview each team asking how the robot was built, where the design originated, what are the unique characteristics of the robot, etc.  Additionally, there will be a laminated picture of the field in each room for teams to draw out their strategies with dry erase markers. 

Rubrics and Resources       

Robot Design Executive Summary

The Challenge Guide details a tool called the Robot Design Executive Summary for the Robot Design Judging Session.  Central Valley Robotics does not use the Robot Design Executive Summary, and we recommend teams do not prepare a summary for judging sessions in our area.

Important Change for 2019: We are continuing with the removal of Robot Game tables in Robot Design judging. This improves sustainability of our events by simplifying setup for event partners. This also shifts the focus of the robot design session from robot runs to mechanical discussions.  The rubrics have changed to further accommodate the removal of Robot Games tables. 

Global Innovation Award

The  FIRST  LEGO League Global Innovation Award presented by XPRIZE is designed to encourage and assist teams to further develop their innovative solutions to real-world problems. For many teams, their innovative solutions created through the Project have led to some amazing opportunities, like receiving national media attention, meeting government leaders, and seeing their invention go to market. Some team inventions have changed lives.  Central Valley Robotics has implemented a regional variation to the Global Innovation Award process.  This process includes a nomination at the qualifying level and a separate judging process at the Championship.  This allows all teams in the region to compete for the Global Innovation Award Regional Nomination and compete for chance to win the Global Innovation Award.  

Judging at the Qualifier Level

Project Judges at each qualifying event in Central California will select one to two teams (depending on event size) to be the Global Innovation Award Qualifier Nominee based on a team’s Research Project for this year’s Challenge. These decisions will be based on the criteria in the Innovative Solution section on the Project Judging Rubric.

Global Innovation Award Qualifier Nominee Advancement

If a Global Innovation Award Qualifier Nominee advanced to the Central California Championship under the standard advancement criteria, they would participate in the event day normally, but with the addition of a judging session for the Regional Global Innovation Award Nomination. If a team did not advance to the Championship with the standard advancement criteria and is only a Global Innovation Award Qualifier Nominee, they will only participate in judging specific to the Regional Global Innovation Award Nomination. Then, the panel of Regional Global Innovation Award Championship Judges will select the Global Innovation Award Regional Nominee for Central California.

Judging at the Central California Championship

The teams nominated at the qualifier-level to be the Global Innovation Award Qualifier Nominees will undergo further judging specific for the Regional Global Innovation Award Nomination at the Central California Championship. The judging for the Regional Global Innovation Award at the Championship will be separate from the standard Judging tracks for the rest of the Championship. There will be a panel of 2-4 judges, and these judging sessions will start with the team performing their project presentation. Following the five minute Project Presentation there will be a ten minute Question and Answer session based on the Global Innovation Award Rubric. The rubric for the Global Innovation Award that we will be using at the Central California Championship can be found at the bottom of this page.

Innovation Row at the Championship 

All Global Innovation Award Qualifier Nominees will participate in an “Innovation Row” at the Central California Championship. The Innovation Row will be a separate area in the Pits for Global Innovation Award Qualifier Nominees to display their innovative projects to other teams.

Rubrics and Resources