Georgia FIRST® Symposium

Georgia FIRST® Symposium, FTC Kickoff, and MAC Meeting

Join us online during the weekend of September 11-13, 2020 as we welcome in a new FIRST® season!

This year, we’re going virtual with the annual Georgia FIRST® Symposium the FIRST® Tech Challenge Kickoff for 2020-2021, and the Mentor Advisory Council meeting (MAC) for coaches and mentors

FRC teams will have a chance to RECHARGE and explore ways to enhance their team and their bots. FTC teams will celebrate GAME CHANGERS and develop skills for a new season. FLL teams will have a chance to DISCOVER new passions, EXPLORE new topics and CHALLENGE their minds. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED, so please use this link to register; https://gafirst.org/for-teams/symposiums/



Hello everyone, We hopefully have finalized our initial plans for the season and want to get them out to you. They remain somewhat fluid based on COVID-19 developments but are fairly settled barring any more surprises!

There will only be Regional Competitions this year, no Super-Regionals. They will be remote, no live face-to-face events.

State registration fee has been lowered to $100 for this year. National remains unchanged.

Teams will upload their entries digitally (URL to come later) to include written documents of some sort (essay, .ppt, some form of what you want to express in each of the 3 judged areas plus an UNEDITED video of the best robot run).

*Project – written document explaining the problem, solution & how and with whom it was shared. Refer to the rubric to see what the judges will be evaluating. A summary video may be submitted as explained below.

*Robot Design – written document (Robot Executive Summary) explaining the design & programming of the robot. Refer to the rubric to see what the judges will be evaluating. No video of any robot runs, judges will refer to the Robot Performance video to see it if they choose. An explanation may be added to the summary video describing the design process for the design, construction & programming of the robot and submitted as explained below.

*Core Values – (still in development)

*Robot Performance – one UNEDITED, UNINTERRUPTED video showing the robot navigating the field in a static wide shot of the entire table as the robot progresses (sample to be provided soon). Video should show the robot leaving the launch zone and returning to Home Base for the entire, uninterrupted 2:30. After the robot has completed its run, the camera should not be turned off but then move to show closeups of each scoring mission preferably in the order the missions were attempted. Best initial placement of the camera would be where no one will block its view of the table at any time. Video should be time & date stamped.


Optional Summary Video – Teams may include a video of one or more of their 3 judged entries (this can be edited) not to exceed 5 minutes total length (it can be less). For example, 5 minutes for a Project skit or 2 minutes explaining the robot programming + 2 minutes for a Project skit + 1 minute demonstrating core values.

Regional submissions should be uploaded no later than 5pm Sat. DEC 12, 2020. Regionals will feed directly into the State Championships which is also planned to be remote at this time, this could change if the pandemic abates but only if school systems lift their directives against student activity travel.

Team advancement to States will be announced by Fri. JAN 22, 2021. This will allow enough time to evaluate all the entries.

State judged submissions will be due Fri. FEB 26, 2021 and Robot Performance will be either due or be held Sat. MAR 6, 2021. This will allow plenty of time for advancing teams to prepare their state submissions and run a new Robot Performance video (teams CANNOT submit their Regional Robot Performance video as the State video, it must be date-stamped after DEC 5, 2020). If possible, (not likely) Robot Performance could potentially be held live on Sat. Mar 6, 2021.



We have been monitoring events as the spring has progressed, been in consultation and have currently worked through two scenarios for how the season might have to be conducted this fall.

Option “A” is there will be no change and the season will progress as in previous years. $200 registration fee for the local season (covers Regional, Super Regional & State events).

Option “B” would be virtual (details are still being formulated) at a discounted registration cost.

The decision as to which option will be utilized would be made around October 1, 2020 before local registration opens.

The option chosen would be for the entire region, we will NOT conduct open events in one area of the state and closed events in another.

We are aware the decision might be made for us if the virus resurfaces and the state or schools impose restrictions. We will follow what our local leaders dictate.

More news for the summer of 2020:

As many of you know we like to keep you informed of any changes that will be in place for the coming year as early as possible so that you can plan accordingly. 

We have opted in to an experimental showcase developed by FIRST called,


wait for it,


FIRST LEGO League Showcase


It will be open to any team that was registered and paid with FIRST for the City Shaper season. It will open the second week of June when I will send all the coaches from last season various links describing how to log in and participate. It is a virtual showcase where you can upload your work to display to others for comment and look at their work and comment on it. Please see if your team is interested in participating as I suspect there are future plans for this platform beyond displaying last year’s work.


Updates & reminders


Local Registration fee change - the cost for local registration in GA increased to $200 last year and covers all levels of participation with one payment. This payment will need to be arranged before the competition season starts (by November 20, 2020). This was done to help with a number of issues: the time to process multiple payments on both the coach and our end. This also allows us to have a dedicated FLL coordinator to help manage the program and offer training events which have already started taking place.

We think that in order to help coaches feel more successful and able to help their teams that we also need to provide training sessions to help promote success. Coaches training workshops will be offered this summer and plans are currently being developed for both face-to-face and on-line delivery options depending on the COVID-19 virus status. We anticipate a few Saturday crash courses during the school year and longer, likely full week workshops in the Summer that will help coaches better understand the competition requirements and improve team capacity for competition.

We also developed tournament schedules to create a means for teams to have 4 robot runs at the Regional level. This provides more opportunities for scores and allows more students to potentially have the opportunity to run the robot during competition.

If you are part of a school district that has multiple schools/teams participating and that is willing to pay for your fee, we have instituted a group payment method which has decreased the load on the county financial people as well as here.

Thank you for understanding and we hope to see everyone for the 2020 season.

National Registration is set to open in May, check it out at www.firstinspires.org. Please remember the National Registration DOES NOT include the State Registration. They are separate and both need to be paid.

Georgia Local Registration will open in October.



ALL events this year will require the Robot Executive Summary during the judging session. The Core Values Poster is optional. 

The Georgia Institute of Technology® is the Affiliate Partner for FIRST®LEGO® League. The Georgia Tech® Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) facilitates the program for the Georgia Region and operates the State Championship event held at Georgia Tech®. All other events are operated by local hosts for the facilitation of the event.  The local event hosts are responsible for all tournament arrangements under the guidance of FIRST® LEGO® League protocols. To learn more about FIRST® visit www.firstinspires.org.