How to join a team

July 10, 2017

How to sign-up for a Saint Peter Area Robotics team

To join a Saint Peter Area Robotics team, a parent or guardian for the student will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Sign up for a free account on our website as a ‘Parent’ (which also registers you as a member of the Saint Peter Area Robotics Association)- students are more than welcome to sign up for the website with their own ‘Student’ accounts, but a ‘Parent’ account is required to register a student for a team
  2. Visit the Team Registration area of the website (use the ‘Parent’ login you just created if you are not signed in- ‘Student’ accounts do not have access to these pages and will be redirected back to the main page of the website)
  3. Select the program
  4. Complete the registration form (there are three sections to the form – contact information, emergency information, and team preferences)
  5. Pay the registration fee. Payments are accepted online with c
  6. You will receive two confirmation emails, one for the registration information and the other for the payment of the registration fee.
  7. After completing the registration, you will receive additional updates from team coaches/ mentors about the start of the season.
  8. At the first team meeting coaches, parents, and students finalize the practice schedule and expectations for the team.

So, what exactly am I getting into if my child becomes involved in a robotics team?

  • Joining a robotics team is a lot like having a child youth sports or community groups.
  • There is a robotics season set by FIRST (the international umbrella organization for robotics).
  • There are set days and times that the team will meet for practices. See more under about time commitment under each team below.
  • Teams develop and build robots that will be used to compete based around a theme or challenge created by FIRST each year.
  • Teams participate in one or more tournaments held in locations throughout the state or a neighboring state.
  • The amount of travel and length of the tournaments increases at the higher levels of robotics.
  • At the tournaments, teams can qualify to advance to the next level of competition based on performance.
  • Robotics is very much about cooperation and winning through helping others also be successful.If financial assistance is needed St. Peter Area Robotics has options for scholarships and can accept alternate payment schedules to make robotics accessible to you and your family.  Please contact your coach/mentor if help is needed.

Key information about each program we offer:
Junior FLL

Ages: Junior FLL is designed to introduce STEM concepts to kids ages 6 to 10
CostJunior FLL participation fee is $30
Season: Teams start meeting in late August and ends in December
Registration: Junior FLL participants are strongly encouraged to complete their registration by August 15th
Practices: Teams typically meet once a week (with the possibility of more weekly practices as the competition nears)
Team size: Teams are purposefully small – typically not more than 5-6 students per team
Parent involvement: Parents are strongly encouraged to help coach as a way to learn more about robotics concepts while providing individualized attention to students at this age level so they can have fun and be successful
Skills learned:Students will build projects with LEGOs and learn basic programming concepts
Students learn problem solving and presentation skills as a team – all while having fun building things
Challenge and competition: Based around a themed challenge created by FIRST that is released in late August and changed each year
Competition is based on exhibiting the team’s project and does not have the head to head tournament format of the higher levels

FIRST LEGO League (FLL)

Ages: FLL is designed for students in grades 4-8
Cost: The FLL participation fee is $80, with a discount of $20 for participants who register before August 15th
Season: Late August – December or January
Registration: FLL participants are strongly encouraged to complete their registration by September 1st since the Challenge for the season is typically announced in late August
Practices: Teams normally meet 2 times a week for a 2-3 hours at a time
Team size: Teams are purposefully small – typically not more than 5-6 students per team
Parent involvement: Teams are led by coaches who typically are a parent of one of the team members. All parents are encouraged to attend practice at any time even if they are not the coach to provide extra guidance and to have fun with the team
Skills learned: Teams will design, build, test, and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology
Students learn problem solving and presentation skills as a team- all while having fun building things
Challenge and competition: Based around a themed challenge created by FIRST that is released in late August and changed each year
Teams will compete at one regional tournament in December or January (sometimes November, depending on tournament schedule/availability)
There is a local mock FLL tournament in November in St. Peter that is hosted by Saint Peter Area Robotics.

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC)

Ages: FTC is designed for students in grades 7-12
Cost: The FTC participation fee is $100, with a discount of $25 for participants who register before August 15
Season: Late August – January
Registration: FTC participants are strongly encouraged to complete their registration by September 1 since practice starts in late August and the challenge for the season is typically announced in late August
Practices: Teams normally meet 2-3 times a week for a 2-3 hours at a time during the season. FTC teams stay active outside the season meeting 2-4 times per month to learn building and programming skills and to participate in community outreach and fundraising activities
Team size: Teams are usually 5-8 students
Parent involvement: Teams are led by mentors typically who are parents of the participants. No skill in programming or engineering is required to be a mentor. Parents are strongly encouraged to be active with the team since FTC involves community outreach such as doing demonstrations at schools and the County Fair and fundraising activities which need parent assistance
Skills learned: Engineering concepts from design to build, programming, team building, presentation skills, goal-setting, resilience, and determination
Challenge: Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot is built by the team to meet specific challenges and is programmed using a variety of programming languages. A themed challenge that will change each year where teams compete head to head, using a sports model.
Competition: Teams will compete in one or two qualifying tournaments in November, December, or January in Minnesota. FTC teams may advance to further competitions based on performance.

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)

Ages: FRC is for students in grades 9-12
(7th and 8th grade students with past robotics experience on occasion have been allowed to join)
Cost: FRC participation fee is $200, with a discount of $50 for participants who register before August 15 or a $25 discount for those who register between August 16 – September 15
Season: January – April
Registration: FRC participants are welcome to join the team at any time before or during the FRC build season
Practices: FRC teams typically meet 1-2 times a week during the fall to work on fundraising and skill development for building, design, and programming skills
Practices increase to 2-6 nights a week during the 6 week build season in January and February.
During the build season the number of meetings will depend on the role the student has on the team and their availability.
Team size: Typically 10-15 students
Parent involvement: Teams are led by mentors who include parents and community members with typically who provide guidance as professional engineers, programmers, and precision machining/fabrication specialist.
Parents are strongly encouraged to be active with the team since FRC to help with travel to tournaments, help students with community outreach such as doing demonstrations at schools and the County Fair, and help students with fundraising activities which include events and  contacting business for sponsorships.
Skills learned: Teams are responsible for raising funds (team costs far exceed participation fees collected), develop a team “brand”, while also designing, building, and programming a sophisticated robot to compete in an alliance format against other teams in a competition.
The robot is completely designed, programmed and built by the team using sophisticated software and hardware under the
Challenge: Based around a themed challenge that will change each year where teams compete head to head, using a sports model with strict rules, including resource and time limits. The challenge each year is released in early January and teams then have 6 weeks to build their robot until they have to bag it up and not touch it until their tournament.
Competition: The team will compete in one or two Regional Qualifying tournaments in March and April. The team may advance to further competitions based on performance.