Wonder League Robotics Competition  |  

Ideas for Creating a Wonder League Robotics Competition Mat

Aug 5, 2020

Launching September 14, 2020: UPDATED FOR YEAR 6

Buy It, Print It, Make It!

The Wonder League Robotics Competition (aka WLRC) is launching again— and we are determined to make it the best year yet. This year’s theme takes Dash and Cue on a new adventure with some of Dash’s friends at Cartoon Network. The competition starts September 14, 2020! That means it’s time to get those mats ready for the big day so that the teams can dive right in. In order to set the stage for all three missions, your teams will need a 5 x 8 square grid Wonder League mat with the following specifications:

  • sized 150 cm x 240 cm (think landscape format)
  • Y-axis is labeled A-E and X-axis is labeled 1–8
  • Cell A1 is in lower left-hand corner
  • Dash or Cue needs to be able to roll across and not have anything interfere with its wheels (sorry, no shag carpet!)

In order to keep things simple and costs low, we are keeping the same theme from year 5 for this year’s Wonder League mat.  The themed mats can be purchased through Geyer, a third-party vendor. Geyer has the themed mat, a non-themed generic mat, and even a chroma-key green background version for sale — can you say “green screen” (check out this video based on #WLRC coach Mrs. Eckstein’s idea from a couple of years ago.

Did know that you can use any of the Wonder League mats from previous years  —  the dimensions are the same. For those of you in need of a new mat, there are three basic options:

OPTION 1: BUY ONE. Check out the Wonder League mat options at Geyer. Just note: Geyer is an independent party; we are not responsible for any issues with the design, quality, or shipping. For those in Europe looking to purchase a mat, please see mat options here.


Buy Now
This year's themed mat design

OPTION 2: PRINT ONE. We also are providing our coaches with both our themed mat design and a digital image of the mat (click on link for files) in two colors: black or white. If you want to print this file, you will need to find a sign or banner printer  —  check out retailers like Staples, Office Depot, FedEx/Kinko’s, Vistaprint.com, Signs.com or Esigns.com, which has a self-print option. You’ll need to tell them that you have:

  • a black and white “.eps file”
  • an image that is 165 cm x 255 cm (accounts for 7.5-cm border)

In addition, you can also print this year’s themed mat through your favorite local or online printer.  You can access this file through the Coaches’ Corner. Be sure to register as a coach to gain access to all our free resources and supporting materials for this year’s competition and beyond.

Your choice! Both are digital .eps files.
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We recommend printing on 13 oz. vinyl  —  it will lie flat but can be rolled for storage. Other options for materials include 24 lb. paper (but do consider longevity needs) or foam board (but do consider space constraints).

OPTION 3: MAKE ONE. We are big fans of this option! And we have seen so many do-it-yourself (DIY) ideas. If you have the space, you can use painter’s tape and create a grid on the floor or on a rug. We have even seen a grid drawn in chalk on a sidewalk. Done!

We recently heard that one classroom teacher took her small 5 x 8 area rug, flipped it over, and created a grid on the back with painter’s tape. She created a two-in-one: a rug for class time and a grid for robot time!

Painters tape on the underside of an area rug!

Another floor option is to use painter’s tape to outline square tiles on linoleum floors, and then put the grid letters and numbers along the axes on Post-It notes. Who knew school hallways could be a robot stomping ground!

Many, though, want something that they can move because of lack of space. Options for a portable gridded mat include making one on a piece of vinyl, a plastic tarp, a drop cloth, or a shower curtain.

Image shared in our Coaches’ Cohort by WLRC Coach Cristina Mota

The total size of the grid should be 150 cm x 240 cm, which includes grid lines. So you can use a paint pen, Sharpie, or thin painter’s tape for the lines. If you’re using tape, just center it on the measurement hash marks. It’s up to you to decide if you want a border or not.

Used a yard stick (in cm), paint pen, and plastic tarp, and first created a squared-off border since the tarp wasn’t quite even on the edges. Then added hash marks to mark 30 cm horizontally and vertically as guides for the grid lines. Last, added A-E on y-axis and 1–8 label on x-axis (A1 in lower left-hand corner).

If you want to use painter’s tape for your grid lines, center the tape over any guiding lines or hashmarks. Then you’re still guaranteed to have 30-cm squares.

Coach Natalie Oberbeck recently shared this back-saving method for making a grid on a felt-backed vinyl tablecloth. She made a transparency out of the white mat image, and then projected it on the wall using an overhead projector. She then used a yard stick to trace straight lines on the tablecloth she taped to the wall. (Natalie recommends getting a piece larger than the grid size to allow for “fudging”!)

Thanks for the clever idea, Natalie Oberbeck!

Coach Joshua Jordan shared his method for creating economical mats made out of banner material. He outlined the following steps:

  1. Purchase a roll of banner material from US Cutter.
  2. Make a WLRC stencil out of card stock.
  3. Buy letter and number stencils.
  4. Buy spray paint.
  5. Measure out 30-cm squares and mark.
  6. Tape grid with 3/4″ masking tape.
  7. Go to town with spray paint! (I applied mist coats to everything to conserve paint, and I really like the way it looks.)
  8. (optional) Apply a light coat of Plasti Dip to the back to prevent skidding.
We love “budget ideas,” Coach Jordan!

We also found this tutorial online from a U.K. coach: http://www.techagekids.com/2016/09/wonder-league-robotics-competition-diy.html.

Still need some inspiration? Check out some of these mat creations.

Have fun embarking on this Wonder League Robotics Competition journey with your teams, Dash, and Cue! And share your photos with our community on Twitter @WonderWorkshop using the hashtags #WonderLeague and #WLRC.

Register today for free and gain access to practice missions, past years’ missions, discount codes and other great resources to get your teams ready for the official launch on September 14, 2020.

You can register now for this year’s WLRC, kicking off on September 14, 2020. The registration window stays open through until December 31, 2020, so sign up as a coach today and add your teams once formed!

Register Now

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: https://store.makewonder.com/products/dash

Check Device Compatibility here: https://www.makewonder.com/compatibility

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 https://store.makewonder.com

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 support@makewonder.com, 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 www.makewonder.com/classroom/robotics-competition/ 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.