Classroom Best Practice  |  

5 Inspiring Coding & Robotics Challenges from Our Teacher Community

Jan 23, 2018

Here at Wonder Workshop, we are proud of the teacher community that surrounds us, united by a passion for teaching computer science to our youth in a fun and engaging way. The ideas that teachers share with us, often through our Twitter feed, never cease to inspire and impress us.

We wanted to take a moment to curate and share some of these inspiring ideas with the rest of the community. To keep up with all that’s shared in real time, follow us on Twitter, join our Facebook page for educators, follow us on Pinterest, or follow us on Instagram. Also, be on the lookout for the hashtags #dashanddot and #WLRC for our Wonder League Robotics Competition.

1) Snowplow Activity

With all of the snow drifting down over the past several weeks, we loved this snowplow idea from The Digital Scoop.Make sure you instruct your students that they are not allowed to pick up Dash; they must use code to move Dash around!

Clearing the patch of ALL of the snow is harder than it looks!

2) Battle Bots — Balloon Edition

Kaitlin Klein, a STEAM educator from San Jose, CA, posted pics and video of her students’ Dash robots engaged in an intense Battle of the Bots. She writes, “We did this as a back-to-school after break activity. They used skewers, a balloon, and tape to create a Battle Bot, using Dash robots. Then they competed in rounds to pop the balloons of other battle bots. The surviving bots from each round competed in the finals.”

She also explains that the students used blue painter’s tape to attach the skewers to Dash and put LEGOs on Dash’s ear attachments to attach the balloons.

Click through to the Twitter post to watch the video! It’s amazing.

3) Dashketball!

We are always up for a round of Dashketball. This Twitter post from Chelsie Grant, a fourth-grade teacher from Leesburg, VA, shows an impeccable implementation of the Basketball Challenge. There are a multitude of ways to extend the challenge and increase its level of difficulty. For starters, you can require that students start the challenge with Dash facing backwards.

Cross-curricular lessons like Dash’s Basketball Challenge are available as part of our Code to Learn Lesson Library. Check it out today for more inspiring ideas! Several of the lesson plans are accessible for free.

4) Rescue a Tom Brady Bobblehead Figure from a Blizzard!

In the category of snow removal, we also found this creative idea from first-grade teacher Mrs. Goldberg. Place a bobblehead figure of your choice in the middle of a grid mat, surround the figure with “snow” in the form of cotton balls, and set the challenge of clearing the snow and rescuing the figure.

Looking for ideas for creating mats like the one pictured here? Mrs. Goldberg created her own mat design, and her school district had it printed on vinyl. We’ve created guidelines for producing an official mat for the Wonder League Robotics Competition; they can be found here. You can use our file, or tweak it and make it your own and then have it printed on 13 oz. vinyl. Need a mat on a budget? This post also describes ways to go totally DIY for great results.

5) Play an Oscar-Winning Score!

We love this Twitter post by Eric Vieira from Cerritos, CA. He managed to program Dash to play the “Imperial March” from the Star Wars soundtrack! Having students pick out their favorite melody on the xylophone and then program Dash to play the tune is a great way to teach and test skills related to sequencing and loops.

The xylophone accessory is included in the Wonder Pack and can also be purchased separately.

We also love this video showing Dash playing “The Carol of the Bells” with a little help from Dot and another Dash.

Do you have activities, lessons, photos, or videos you’d like to share? Make sure you include @WonderWorkshop in your Twitter posts and use hashtags #dashanddot, #xylo, and #WLRC!

Wonder League Robotics Competition FAQ | Year 8

Hello, robotics enthusiasts! If you’re here, you’re probably as excited as we are about the 8th Annual Wonder League Robotics Competition! To help you and your teams have the best possible experience competing this year, we wanted to share answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Who Can Compete:

Any kid, anywhere in the world, ages 6-8 (Innovator Cup) and 9-12 (Pioneer Cup). There are two age brackets: 6-8 and 9-12 and team members have to fall within the age category at some point during the competition. Participants must be the qualifying age for their bracket on the last day of the competition, but if they gain a year during the competition, that’s OK. They won’t age out! 

Competition Brackets:

  • Innovator Cup (Age 6-8)
  • Pioneer Cup (Age 9-12)

What Makes a Team:

A team is made up of a supervising adult coach, and one or more children (up to 5). That’s right, kids can compete solo, but a coach who is 18+ is needed to help with the submission process. For multi-kid teams, each member must be in the same age bracket. Coaches may have multiple teams and can register all their teams after registering as a coach. Please keep in mind that each team will need a separate Class Connect registration.

Note: Younger students may participate in the 9-12 age category, but please be aware that the missions have been designed with older students and advanced coding skills in mind.

What a Team Needs to Compete:

Class Connect subscription

The team is made up of a supervising adult coach and one to five members

  1. Compatible device
  2. 5′ x 8′ mat of 30cm squares and basic prototyping materials
  3. Teams in 6-8 & 9-12 age brackets will need a Dash robot
  4. Internet access to download and upload materials

Teams will need one Dash robot:

Check Device Compatibility here:

We will be offering a mat image that you are welcome to use and print with your local printer, but teams are absolutely encouraged to make their own if they prefer. For more on how to make your own mat, check out this blog post.

Coaches will, of course, need internet access to download the apps and keep up with the competition as it progresses, and may want to print out some kid-facing materials that we will provide at each stage.

Class Connect Subscription:

To register for the 8th Wonder League Robotics Competition requires a subscription to Class Connect, providing additional resources like standards-aligned content assignable right inside a student’s Blockly app. Learn more about Class Connect here.

If you already have a Class Connect subscription, you have access to register a team, based on your student license amount. If you have more than one team of 5 students, you will need to purchase another Coach Success Pack or consider a larger subscription to accommodate more teams and students.

  1. A Coach Success Pack provides:
    Participation in the WLRC for up to 5 students
    Access to all Missions
    Full access to Class Connect, (including Math Activities and Dash’s Neighborhood), for 5 students and 1 teacher for 7 months
    A discount code for a Dash robot from our online store at

Please note: Teams will need a physical Dash robot to complete the Missions.
The Coaches’ Dashboard in Class Connect will help our coaches register and manage their team(s). The dashboard will be your one-stop shop for all Wonder League Robotics Competition management. You will be able to access the Coaches’ Corner–where all competition-related content and resources will be hosted–the Heartbeat community forum, and all the submission forms right there on the Dashboard.

Accessing Missions for the Innovator Cup and Pioneer Cup:

Once your purchase is completed for Class Connect, you will receive an email to activate your Class Connect license.

Once this license is activated, you will be able to register yourself as a coach and register your teams. This is done on your portal page under the Robotics Competition tab.

Once your team/teams are registered, you will get an additional email from CoAssemble, our partner hosting the missions this year. This email will state you have been registered for the “2022-2023 Coaches Corner Course”.

Click on the link to be redirected to the CoAssemble website, and you will see the course and can access the Coaches’ Corner Guide as well as the Missions (available November 3, 2022).

Still having trouble accessing all the resources in the Coaches’ Corner? If you have previously had a license to Class Connect and registered as a coach, and have not seen Coaches’ Corner added to your CoAssemble list of courses, please email us at, and we will provide assistance.

Last Year’s Missions:

Taking a peek at last year’s missions might help you get a sense of what the competition is like. Just sign in with your Class Connect subscription and register as a coach to take a peek at the previous years by going to the Coaches’ Corner and selecting the desired year.

2022-23 Wonder League Robotics Competition Milestone Dates:

Here are important milestone dates to keep in mind as coaches develop timelines for teams competing in the 2022-23 Wonder League Robotics Competition.


  1. October 21, 2022: Student Team Registration Opens
  2. November 3, 2022: Round One Opens + Five Mission Released
  3. January 13, 2023: Student Team Registration Closes
  4. January 27, 2023: Mission Evidence Submission Closes 
  5. January 28-March 5, 2023: Invitational Round Notification 
  6. February 6, 2023: Invitational Round Opens + Final Mission Released
  7. March 24, 2023: Invitational Round Submission Due 
  8. April 10, 2023: People’s Choice Voting Opens 
  9. April 21, 2023: People’s Choice Voting Closes 
  10. May 4, 2023: 2022-23 Wonder League Robotics Competition Winner Announcement

NEW Award Category: WLRC People’s Choice Award

Teams may opt in to participate in the WLRC People’s Choice Award category by creating a :30 second video explaining the Team’s Invitational Round Final Mission solution that will be shared with the community at in an “online crowd vote” competition. The WLRC People’s Choice Award allows teams to share and celebrate their work in the WLRC and encourage community support in voting for their team. This is an optional category for teams to enter and will not impact scoring of the Invitational Round submission as they will be judged by STEM and Coding experts using a published rubric.

Children’s Privacy:

We take our participants’ privacy very seriously and comply with COPPA when collecting any information. In the invitational round we ask only for the students’ first names, and request parents’ permission. For those that make it into the Invitational Round, we ask for full names, again with permission. We are never marketing, selling to, or corresponding with children. All contact is through the proxy of the coach.