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Robotics

Piedmont Makers organizes FIRST Robotics teams and hosts tournaments for Piedmont and the broader East Bay community. This includes:

  • FIRST LEGO League Explore (K through 3rd grade)

  • FIRST Lego League Challenge (4th through 8th grade)

  • FIRST Tech Challenge (7th through 12th grade)

  • FIRST Robotics Competition (9th through 12th grade).

In the 2023-2024 season, we organized 76 robotics teams with over 530 students across all four levels of FIRST, making us the largest community robotics league in the United States!

Our Robotics programs are open to all families in the East Bay, including Oakland, Berkeley, "Lamorinda", etc; our programs are not just for Piedmont residents / PUSD students. Note that we are a volunteer-driven organization and parents serve as team coaches, so please consider volunteering. Financial aid available upon request.

Registration for the 2024-2025 season is now open (below) for FIRST LEGO League Explore, FIRST LEGO League Challenge, FIRST Tech Challenge, & FIRST Robotics Competition levels.

More questions?  See FAQ below or email robotics@piedmontmakers.org

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FIRST LEGO League Explore

FIRST LEGO League Explore (K-3rd grade) is designed to introduce STEM concepts to kids ages 6 to 10 while exciting them through a brand they know and love − LEGO®.

FIRST LEGO League Challenge

FIRST LEGO League Challenge (4th-8th grade) is a LEGO Spike Prime-based robotics competition with Scratch/Python coding and includes a team project based on the season’s theme. The regular season runs from August through November.  If you are new to robotics or coding, we recommend this level.

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FIRST Tech Challenge

FIRST Tech Challenge (7th-12th grade) is a more advanced robotics competition which features Android/Java programming and Rev/TETRIX/GoBilda robotics.  If you have some robotics or coding experience and are at least in 7th grade, we recommend this level.

FIRST Robotics Competition

FIRST Robotics Competition (9th-12th grade) is the highest level of FIRST robotics.  Highlander Robotics (Team #8033) represents Piedmont in regional and national competitions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does coaching work?

A: We are a volunteer run organization, and coaches are typically parents. Each team needs a primary and assistant coach, and practices are usually held in one of the coaches' homes (garage, basement, etc). Coaches will coordinate the practice schedule with their team.

Q: What resources are available for coaches? Is engineering experience necessary to coach?

A: No experience necessary! We provide everything you need. FIRST provides guided lesson plans and digital tutorials for the kids. Additionally, Piedmont Makers provides an annual Coaches Training, a coaches Slack channel, TeamSnap. practice table drop off & pickup, coach shirts

Q: What's the best way to form a team? How can I ensure friends are together? What if we don't know anyone?

A: The best way to register is with a friend group AND a volunteer coach already preselected. That will guarantee you a spot along with your friends. Otherwise, we'll do our best to honor preferences and match kids with coaches. We always need more coaches, so if you are able, please indicate your desire to coach during registration. Any other participants will be placed on a waitlist and be placed on a team as space and confirmed coaches allow. If you're new to robotics and need a team, be sure to join us at our Open House to meet other new robotics families.

Q: What included in the tuition fee?

A: For FLL Challenge, the tuition fees cover FIRST registration, FIRST LEGO League Challenge Set, 2 sets of LEGO SPIKE Prime per team, a team t-shirt, a FIRST LEGO League competition table, scrimmage and tournament fees, and other league fees (coach training, background checks, etc).  For FLL Explore, tuition covers FIRST registration, FLL Explore Challenge Set, LEGO SPIKE Prime Essentials kit, team t-shirt, end-of-season Expo fees, and other league fees.

Q: What is the time commitment?

A: Usually one practice per week (1-2 hours, depending on the team), one league scrimmage on a weekend and one league tournament on a weekend. Competitive teams may opt to participate in more tournaments outside of Piedmont as well.

Open House Presentations

If you missed our Open Houses, you can view the recording and slides below.

2024-2025 Presentations:​

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR PARENTS: We are a 100% parent volunteer run & coached league. This year, in an effort to ensure sustainable growth and full support for every team, we are asking for your help to pre-form teams and increase the number of coach volunteers.  During registration, preference will be given to pre-formed teams with coaches assigned—whether new or returning teams. We strongly encourage you to work with your friend groups to assemble teams before you register so that you have more control over your team composition and support network. If you are new to robotics, and want to help coach but don’t have a team, you can indicate your desire to coach during registration and we’ll help assemble a team for you. Any other participants will be placed on a waitlist and only be placed on a team as space, and confirmed coaches, allow.

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