Classroom Best Practice  |  

Dash & Dot’s Favorite “Stuff”

Aug 22, 2017

Creating a unique classroom environment

The minute you open a Dash or Dot box, you’ll probably find your students clamoring to create a new environment for the robots to explore, react to, and interact with: mazes, obstacle courses, neighborhoods, and more. And this creation of new worlds doesn’t have to be expensive!

Here are some favorite teacher tricks and tips (#NotanAd):

  • Painter’s tape: Known to the teaching world as well as the painting world, painter’s tape (often blue in color) can be used to label and name your individual robots. You also can mark starting and finish lines, outline floor mats (see below), and denote group workspaces.
  • String/rope: Yep, use a jump rope, clothesline, or long piece of string to outline workspaces on the floor for small group work. Challenge students to keep their robots within their work area!
  • Floor mat: We recommend creating at least a 5 x 8 grid of 30 cm squares for Dash. Outline a grid of squares on the floor or carpet (painter’s tape!). You could also create one on a canvas drop cloth, plastic tarp, or even a shower curtain for easy storage.
  • Plastic cones: These easy-to-store, small cones allow students to set obstacles or design parameters for the robots to move within or around.
  • Plastic cups (think Solo brand?): From markers to baskets to buildings, cups are so much more when a child’s imagination comes into play! Position and stack away.
  • Basketball Net: This version always sells out after we host our Dash-ketball Challenge at conferences. Although it is a perfect size to challenge Dash with a launcher and ping pong balls (and it folds nicely for storage), see above for less expensive plastic cup “baskets.” And, by the way, we use ping pong nets along the edges of tables to corral the robots and wayward balls.
  • Ping pong balls: While our launcher accessory comes with balls, you can also use ping pong balls if you create baskets and targets. Or place balls on the floor, and hold races or soccer matches (who remembers Hungry Hippo?). Ask kids to program the robots to collect, pick up, and deposit these balls — or are they nuggets of gold or flaming asteroids or magic orbs???
  • LEGOs: With the Building Block Connectors, students can build the most magnificent costumes, appendages, and apparati for both Dash and Dot. Search for used LEGOs on Craigslist, eBay, or NextDoor — often great deals!
  • Shoeboxes or rolling luggage: Works well to store the robots neatly. A rolling suitcase or a repurposed book cart makes it easy to move robots from one classroom to another.
  • Charging: To charge multiple robots at once, you can purchase a charging hub with multiple USB ports. The linked unit allows you to charge up to six robots with one outlet. Just connect the orange charging cords included with each robot!
  • Bowling Set: Who doesn’t like to bowl? Dash loves it! Create bowling matches or use the pins as obstacles or markers.

In case you missed it, check out our article all about grant and fundraising options!

You also can find inexpensive props and resources on sites like Oriental TradingEtsyDollar TreeParty CitySS WorldwideUS ToyWindy City NoveltiesMichael’s, and Hobby Lobby. You can find gently used items on community sites like NextDoorEtsyCraigslist, and eBay.

What are your favorite places to find inexpensive materials?

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.