Skystone Outreach

RavenCon - April 6, 2019

For the past six years, Lord of the Bricks has participated in the Robots & Science demo at the RavenCon convention in WIlliamsburg, VA. We, along with a second FTC team and an FRC team, hosted a panel for interested community members about our FIRST experience, and how others can get involved.  We also performed demos with our robot, as well as roamed the convention to a meet-and-greet with guests. Our team members also took the time to enjoy playing vintage video games, take some virtual reality journeys, all squeeze into the Tardis, and learning how to create their own woven bracelets!


BSA Robotics Merit Badge Counseling

Lord of the Bricks provides merit badge counseling for BSA (formerly Boy Scouts) troops.  Our coach is a certified Merit Badge Counselor; and our team provides a workshop/competition schedule that fulfills the requirements for Troop members to earn their Robotics Merit Badges.

Homeschool Resources Group Open House

In support of our primary sponsor, Homeschool Resources Group, Lord of the Bricks team members set up a booth at the beginning of the year Open House.  Because we are not a school team, meeting space is always a concern for us. In order to maintain our free space, Homeschool Resources Group must enroll paying students for classes during the day.  Our team not only provided entertainment for prospective students, but was also granted the opportunity to recruit potential new team members. We recruited several of our newest team members at this event!

Home Educators Association of Virginia Convention Demos - June 6-8, 2019

Lord of the Bricks team spearheads the yearly inclusion of FIRST in the heavily-attended HEAV Convention.  This convention occurs each summer over a full weekend at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The Convention hosts more than 150 workshops and 350 booths for the thousands of families who attend.  Each year, FIRST is offered a booth, along-side VEX. Our team coordinates the inclusion of teams and FIRST resources so that their is constant coverage across the three days of the convention. We, ourselves, staff several shifts to ensure we Make FIRST Loud!

FIRST Information Session - August 10, 2019

Lord of the Bricks hosted a robotics information session to introduce new team members to FIRST, as well as answer questions for new teams starting their journey with FIRST!  We met some enthusiastic new coaches, and made certain to make their transition into FIRST a smooth one!

Senator McClellan’s Harvest Festival -October 31, 2019

For each of the last 14 years, Virginia State Senator Jennifer McClellan has hosted a Harvest Festival that is free, and open to the Community.  Kids can come trick or treat in a safe indoor environment, while adults have the opportunity to browse local vendors and learn about community resources.  This event typically sees between 1,500-2,000 visitors on Halloween night. Lord of the Bricks is proud to have been asked to return this year, and introduce our young community to robotics.  Our robot Thorin Oakinshield happily handed out candy and stickers to the kids!

Lord of the Bricks Jr FLL Team 933

For eight years and counting, Lord of the Bricks has opened its doors to our young engineers ages 5-8 via our JR FLL Team.  This year, seven youngsters took the Boomtown Build Challenge, and displayed their creativity through the construction of a hospital with a roof-top playground. Lord of the Bricks FTC Team 7039 team members served as buddies for the little guys to help them get hands-on learning throughout the challenge.  These guys did fabulous work; we can’t wait to see what their future holds!

 Lord of the Bricks FIRST Lego League Team 9076

Lord of the Bricks began as a FIRST Lego League team eight years ago.  Even though all the original members all all grown up, we still keep the tradition alive!  Our coach and team members coach and support Lord of the Bricks’ FLL team; and many of our FTC members are cultivated from our FLL team.  Not only that, but many of our FTC team members’ younger siblings are on our FLL team, and some of our current FTC team members still compete with FLL!

This year, Lord of the Bricks FIRST Lego League Team 9076 brought home the Judges Award trophy at the Glen Allen Tournament at Godwin.  Not only that, but they are so enthusiastic about their Dyslexia Helper project that they have decided to pursue its creation. Way to go, TEAM!

Virginia FTC Teams Google Group

Along with Team Absolute Zero, Lord of the Bricks created and currently maintains a Google group for Virginia FTC teams.  In an effort to create a means of communication and access for teams in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we borrowed a page from the VA-DC-DLL list serve, which effectively connects a large number of FLL teams and supporters.  Potential members must ask for admission to the group, but then are free to communicate with other members without divulging personal team information unnecessarily. Teams currently share events, ask for and give support, and share information for community members seeking teams in their areas.  As of the beginning of the Rover Ruckus season, we have 67 members and growing!

FLL to FTC team member transition program

To help ease into the transition from FLL to FTC, Lord of the Bricks set into motion an FLL-to-FTC transition program.   Students who are looking to transition to FTC from our FLL team are welcome to complete an internship with Lord of the Bricks FTC team.  These students may continue with FLL, while simultaneously experiencing the fast-paced FTC season. When they are ready, they may either make the full transition to FTC, or they may continue the dual membership!  We currently have two interns on our competition team this year!

Social Media: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, web pages

Lord of the Bricks maintains a solid web presence so that we may easily be found by community members and other teams.  Our social footprint includes:

Web Pages


Twitter: @LordoftheBricks


FROGBots - Engineering Notebook Session

March 14, 2019 2pm

In true FIRST spirit, the FROGbots took some time out of their busy schedules preparing for Worlds to connect with Lord of the Bricks team members via Skype so we could learn what makes their Inspire-worthy notebook so great.  We walked away with some truly useful information.

The FROGbots use Agile stories to organize their notebook.  They designate each system as a story. Each team member takes notes pertaining to the work they do on that system.  This notes are organized chronologically behind a story summary page for each system. Notes are labeled according to the story they support, and the team members initial and date their notes. A Story Lead uses the notes to create the Story Summary page for each story.   Pages are grouped by story, and stories are ranked by importance and time spent. 

Their notebook begins each story section with a summary of all the stories included within that section, with a brief paragraph summarizing all of the stories within that section.  They include a section for Hardware stories, and a separate section for Software stories. They also include a section for controllers & sensors, as they cross both into hardware and software.  This organization of their notebook makes it extremely useful for understanding how the systems of the robot, and the robot, itself, has come to be. It also makes the notebook a good tool for re-creating systems on the robot, making it valuable for future team members.

The FROGbots also separate their outreach into two categories: Upreach (Connect Award) and Outreach (Motivate Award).  They include an introduction that explains what type of activities are included, making it easier for judges to recognize how they hit the mark for each award, independently of the other, in a subtle but obvious way.

The FROGbots also create a Season Summary page.  They include a copy in their notebook, as well as handing a copy to the judges during their interview.  This page makes it easier for the judges to remember what was special about their robot and team that made them eligible for awards. 

Final note: the FROGbots keep a PIT NOTEBOOK available for team members in the pit.  This includes pictures of the robot and systems, and descriptions of what each does.  This practice helps team members in the pit to be able to refer to parts on the robot without having the robot in the pit.  They also make sure that whomever is in the pit can speak to all parts of the robot. Ideally, all team members should be able to talk about the complete picture.

FIRST Global Advisory Team - Zimbabwe

We stayed with our FIRST Global team from least season - Zimbabwe. The team continued with the FIRST Global Challenge this year, and also competed in the Pan African Robotics Competition in Ghana, where they won first place!  Lord of the Bricks team members continue to assist the team in their build and programming tasks via WhatsApp whenever they need a helping hand!

FTC Team Support: Open Field and Tech Support

Lord of the Bricks has a dedicated lab space and practice field.  To assist other teams that do not, we offer open field/lab sessions for teams to join us!  Teams have access to our field, lab space, and team resources. We have hosted multiple teams, including Smokie Jr 3668 from Hermitage High School, and Henrico High School’s Warriors.

We also offer tech and programming support to other teams via Skype and email when they cannot come into our lab. 

New FTC Team

This year, Lord of the Bricks’ build coach and co-lead builder started a new team in a rural, underserved area, New Kent County, Virginia.  New Kent Robotics LOGICoyote 16537 has gained fabulous community support, including having Facebook as a sponsor. We donated laptops to the team to get their programmers going.  We are proud of their awesome work!

FTC/FRC Competition Volunteering

Lord of the Bricks team members Volunteer at FTC/FRC competitions!  We assist as judges, field resetters, queuers, setup, or any job where we are needed.  We find the behind-the-scenes view to be beneficial; plus, it there is so much to learn from everyone else!

VDOT Materials Lab Tour - June 12, 2019

Lord of the Bricks spent they morning exploring the V-DOT Materials Lab; and, BOY, was it amazing!  We followed the engineers through the different labs, and watched as they created, tested, and experimented with the materials to create the road system that we drive on each day. 


Military Electronics Technician Class Visit - September 14, 2019

Lord of the Bricks FIRST Tech Challenge Team 7039 and FIRST LEgo League Team 9076 were honored to have been joined by the in-session military technicians class from Fort Lee.  These 13 soldiers were looking to give back to their community, and took time out of their schedules to come down and share with us!  

We started out the session getting to know a bit about each of them, and what they do.  Jobs ranged from rocket scientists to robotics technicians on explosives detonations missions, radio communications technician, electronics technicians and radar communications techs.  Their jobs gave us a fantastic view into the various applications of our newly-learned skills and challenges. Interestingly enough, a couple of the members had been members of robotics teams as youths!

They spent the remainder of the session with us learning what we do, and helping us with new ideas.  They helped 7039 work on ideas for prototypes, and assisted 9076 with in-depth research information relating to their FLL project.  By the end of the session, both teams had accomplished a lot. Also, all the technicians were eager to bring the FIRST experience back to their home States! 

FTC Workshops - September 21, 2019 @ ECPI University

The FIRST Tech Challenge Kickoff Workshops are sponsored by ECPI University.  These workshops are a great opportunity for rookie students to become familiar with FIRST, and experienced students to learn new skills and up their game for the coming season.  Our team team participates each year by facilitating workshops for other teams to participate. This year, we facilitated the Engineering Notebook session to introduce teams to the ins and outs of the engineering notebook. 

Scrimmage at the Library 2019 SKYSTONE Edition 


Lord of the Bricks participated, with seven other FTC teams, in the Scrimmage at the Library, hosted by LibraryBots 7278.  The teams ran a competition-style scrimmage of ten matches, with an optional judging session. The scrimmage was a great way to get the robots on the field, and figure out how much work was left to be done.  It was also a great introduction for our new Match Scouts, so that they could learn what it takes to scout successfully. The evening wrapped up with an award ceremony, with each team receiving an award recognizing their particular style and accomplishments.

CodeRVA Collaboration

CodeRVA Regional High School is an innovative public high school in Richmond, Virginia that prepares students for college and careers in computer science. In order to give their students hands-on learning experiences, the high school reaches out to area non-profit organizations to offer their students real-world projects. Lord of the Bricks has taken this opportunity to collaborate with them on a few projects.

During the FLL season, Lord of the Bricks FLL Team 9076 came up with an innovative new Dyslexia Helper app, designed to assist Dyslexics maneuver around the city by giving them more concrete directions, with both visual and audio cues.  The app relies on the best parts of several apps, removing some encumbrances along the way. The team received such valuable and enthusiastic feedback from the dyslexic community that they decided to proceed with development. Students from CodeRVA will assist in the development of this project.

Additionally, FIRST Tech Challenge team 7039 has a few projects in backlog in its pipeline that need assistance with completion.  In particular, our team has developed specs on a match scouting app that would be collaborative, as well as accessible for our team members who are dyslexic and/or ADHD.  We have delivered our specs to the CodeRVA students, and will collaborate on the development of this project.   

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