Robots At Rushe – Just Around The Corner

Time flies when it’s November and the first FLL Qualifying Tournament on the West Coast is just weeks away.  Brick Buddies is hosting their Annual Robots At Rushe tournament on Saturday, November 23rd from 9am – 4pm.  The event is free and open to the public to come watch.  Charles S. Rushe Middle School, Land O Lakes, Florida. IMG_0190  Robot Rounds will be held in the school cafeteria.  16 teams will be competing from the following area schools: Rushe Middle; Bayonet Point Middle; Crews Lake Middle, Chasco Middle School, Walker Middle Magnet, Roland Park Elementary, Robles Elementary, and Academy of the Lakes.

You can watch the Robot Competition from 9:00 – 2:00pm.


Having An Impact!

Florida First LEGO League is very competitive with 48 qualifiers going on across the State, as teams battle to secure a spot at Regionals. Brick Buddies has been trying to track the progress of some of our Workshop Day teams.  And we are proud to hear that many have earned Regional Bids already!  We’re so proud of them and we’d like to say congratulations and give them a shout out for all their hard work so far this season.  Team Ibots from Brandon is burning up the Table this season and grabbed a spot.

Winthrop Mindstorms

Winthrop Mindstorms

Rookie Team, Winthrop Mindstorms, from Valrico earned a Regional spot at the their debut tournament.  Pasco County’s Patriot Robots will be their county’s first team to reach the Regional level. We also heard that local team Cyborgs earned a bid as well as another Rookie Team from Fort Myers, Panther Tech! Way to go teams.  If your team qualified, we’d love to hear from you.


The reviews and results are in from our inaugural FLL Qualifier in Pasco County this past weekend.  STEM is catching on in Pasco!  We saw a lot of success in the all of the new Pasco County middle school based teams that participated. IMGP5272 We hope the First LEGO League program will expand to include some elementary teams next season as well.  Because 4th and 5th graders can be tough competitors.  The community team from Brandon’s Tech Playzone proved that with their young group of Techno Whizards who were awarded Tournament Champions.  Team IBOTS and Terrapins Reds tied for the high score of the day, both scoring a Table Run of 305 points, a huge score at early tournament!  Newcomers from Chasco Middle School, Gigabotz won the coveted FLL Core Values Award.  Team IBOTS won for Robot Design.  In the Project Category, Patriot Robots, from Bayonet Point MIddle, took 1st Place.  Also from Bayonet Point, Patriot Robotics, were recognized with the Rising Star Award.  From John Long Middle, Green Flames took home the award for FIRST Spirit, for showcasing great sportsmanship and Gracious Professionalism.  Teams that advanced to Regionals were Techno Whizards, Patriot Robots, and Terrapins Red.  Congratulations to everyone!  We had a blast.

Time For SUPER JR. 2013

Brick Buddies has been busy this week.  After catching our breath from a great Workshop Day for our area FLL teams, we’ve switched gears to our younger FIRST fans in Jr. First LEGO League.  We’ve started hosting a very unique Jr. FLL Expo and this season, we’ve gone big time and are working with LEGOLAND, Florida.  We’ve now opened registration for Super Jr. 2013 which will be held on Sunday, February 10th.  Details can be found under the Super Jr 2013. tab.  If you are a Jr. FLL Team in Florida, we hope to see you in February!  

We Love Real Gracious Professionalism!

We are watching the growth and progress of Coleman Middle School robotics team, Bioharzardous.  This team, which has members that have grown up through the old Dale Mabry Destroyers Elementary School team are emerging as one of the veteran FLL teams on the West Coast.   Biohazardous combined some practical problem solving and outreach, devising a ‘cat wagon’ for the senior partner they’ve been working with for this year’s Project.  She related she was unable to drive her cats to the vet but still wanted to maintain her independence by walking there, if she could.  The team members modified a radio flyer and it looks like these cats will be riding in style thanks in part to some good kids with some great GP, who took time out from their Project to reach out!  It’s one thing to memorize the FLL Core Values, it’s another thing to actually incorporate them into your everyday interactions.

FLL Senior Solutions Challenge Released!!

Hey FLL friends.  Several coaches have asked where the Robot Game video is posted.  If you went on the FIRST website today, there is a FLL informational video posted and then Scott Evan’s video explaining the game is linked halfway down the page.  It looks to be a great season.  Don’t forget to read the Mission and Game Rules!  Here is a link.  

Start A Jr. FLL Team in Tampa!

Do you have a child that loves building with LEGO or learning about the way things work?  Or maybe LEGO isn’t really their thing, but they are a good friend and work well together in a team setting.  Those are skills kids work to develop as part of the noncompetitive program, Jr. First LEGO League, for children who are between the ages of 6-9.  We are a FIRST Robotics team that is helping grow and mentor new Jr. FLL teams this season in the Tampa Bay area.

William shares a Jr. FLL model

We are encouraging parents and teachers to start new teams at their schools, a community center or even start one in your own living room!  Jr. FLL is a low cost program and you can tailor the program to run anywhere from a month to 6 or 8 weeks.  To recognize Jr. FLL Teams, we are hosting a Jr. FLL Expo, Saturday April 7th at the Glazer Children’s Museum.   Start a team!  Check out our Jr. FLL section and download our Resources.  We help answer your questions and give you a curriculum to get you going! Get involved with FIRST today!


Last Saturday, we welcomed more than 25 teams to Lomax Elementary for our annual FIRST outreach event, Tune It Up, Tampa!

Organized Chaos

It was great to see how many people are becoming involved in starting First LEGO League teams in Florida.  We had groups from every corner of the State, from Ocala, and Orlando, from way over in Brevard, and all the way from Miami! The Workshop Day helps veteran teams work on specific team details in order to become more competitive, while most of our Rookie teams are just getting basic information on how to get their teams started for the season!  Even though we organize the event, it’s a group effort of many veteran FLL Leaders and teams who volunteer their time:  Lomax Robopanthers and Coach, Greg Verrill; FTC Coaches, Paul Bresnan & KK Quah; Tournament Director, Rich Berglund; Amanda Peterson with Energy Elites; not to mention all the parents and team members on Team Brick Buddies!

We had great time with all of the teams!  And we look forward to another fantastic Workshop Day, 2012.  Stay tuned.  And remember, register early!

Team Technical


Taking a break from our own FTC Robot, team member Alex Pillai is passing on his love of FIRST robotics to a new crop of kids over at Lomax Elementary, where he used to go to school! Alex, who has benefited from mentors himself, realized what a great help it was, and has made the ongoing commitment to this First LEGO League team for two years!   Lomax Robopanthers are an FLL team of 4th and 5th graders.  Alex visits practices on Wednesdays to help with the Robot Game and is a great assistant for Coach, Greg Verrill.


Our robot has been ‘out making friends and influencing people’ so to speak!  Brick Buddies has talked about STEM across the Tampa Bay over the pass month since finishing up with summer camps!  The students showcased First LEGO League to young people and their families at the LEGO My Library event and then we were invited by the  IEEE engineers’ group to make a presentation how Brick Buddies is growing from a simple FLL team into a larger community STEM organization and how we are supporting others.  The students were able to introduce new mentors and coaches to FIRST and get advice for themselves about moving into the competitive level of First Tech Challenge (FTC).  It was a great way to promote the broad range of STEM opportunities to the IEEE and their guests.