Part 1: Judge volunteer role and judge advisor
This does not include judging the STEM Research project nor online challenges. See part 3 below.
Good news: it is a beginner level volunteer position. No prior robotics experience necessary. All you need is time to prepare to become a trained judge. Bring you smile and be ready to be impressed by kids.
Prior to the day you act as a volunteer judge:
Step 1: Get familiar with the tournament format by visiting an event prior to volunteering as a judge. A qualifying event is posted on robotevents.com.
Step 2: Review the Game manual in the app VIQC Hub (see Workshop 2). You can use a search in the app. A printed copy will be provided by the judge advisor at the tournament for reference. If you have any questions, ask the head referee.
The day you act as a volunteer judge:
Arrive early to get familiar with the competition area and the pit area. Teams will check-in and get the robot inspected.
Teams will turn in the engineering notebook when they check-in. The judge advisor will collect them and provide you a final list of teams checked in.
Team interview: minimum 90 minutes for 16 teams plus 15 min to rank the top 6
Practically at an event there will be a minimum of 16 teams. Each team needs to be interviewed by a minimum of 2 judges. An interview takes between 4 and 6 minutes. The biggest challenge for a judge is that these are not scheduled interviews for VIQC. It is up to the judge team to find the teams in the pit and interview all teams. Teams might be doing skills challenges or team challenges. It is important to have the robot in the pit while interviewing the team. Take a picture of the robot with the team and make sure the license plate is visible to avoid mix-ups.
Ask the judge advisor for example questions or create 3-4 questions based on the rubric. Give every member of the team an opportunity to contribute to the interview. This is their moment to shine.
Fill out a rubric for every team. It is not uncommon that a lot of teams end up with the same score.
Ideally you have a minimum of 2 teams of 2 judges and a judge advisor. Both teams of judges writes down the top 3 teams interviewed, and hand the list to the other team for an extra interview. Both teams compare those 3 interviews with their own top 3. The top 6 teams can be put on a post-it note for possible awards and ranked.. This will take an extra 15 minutes. Some awards require an engineering notebook or performance requirements. This is only part of the process. The judge advisor will guide you through the process.
Engineering notebook review:
Sort the notebooks by Elementary and Middle School. Open the notebook to a page representing the notebook. If you cannot find the minimum of a table of content, numbered pages and proof of a design engineering process, place it back in the bin. The engineering notebook should give you all the information to rebuild the robot and why it was build that way. Don't look at the beginning of the notebook to see who the team is. The judges should rank the notebooks based on the content. Several awards are based on the documentation of the design engineering process. Identify the notebooks that contain evidence of programming the remote and/or programming the robot for autonomous skills.
Fill out a rubric for each team and rank the teams.
Pick the top 6 notebooks and write the team number on a post-it and rank them.
Add up interview score and engineering notebook score
Identify teams with a high score on both the interview and the notebook. Always keep a list of at least 6 teams. The excellence award requires not only a great engineering notebook, a great interview but also a high scoring robot for team challenge and skills.
Code of conduct is important. Referees can receive notes from the field about conduct. Teams who violate code of conduct or student-centered policy do NOT receive judged awards.
Verify with the judge advisor what awards will be handed out, and which ones will provide an invitation to a championship. A tournament with 16 teams normally has an excellence and a design award, both qualifying for a championship.
Performance impacting judged awards
Request a printout of the skills challenges to determine which team is high scoring for driver and/or autonomous. The think award is based on programming. Verify that the team is able to explain their programming. Student-centered policy is important. If the team uses a lot of sensors, ask what the sensor does and if it needs to be calibrated and how that works.
Final selection for excellence is after all team challenges and before finals!
The judge advisor will lay out the different awards and the judges can place a post-it note under the award with the teams qualifying for the award. Only ONE judged award can be given to a team. The excellence award is based on both performance and rubrics. This is the best overall team. The design award might be an excellent notebook and interview but not a high scoring robot. High scoring is within the top 20% of the tournament.
Part 2: Rubrics and key concepts
Engineering Design Process