Wonder League Robotics Competition  |  Stories  |  

What Robotics Means to Me

Sep 13, 2017

by Camryn Ihrke of the Pink Eagles

Pink Eagles (from left to right) – Camryn, Amber, Sidney, Olivia and Jaley

As a young girl, I was always interested in trying new things. I would look anywhere for new activities to fill up my schedule. I did Girl Scouts, archery, gymnastics (I wasn’t very good at it), etc. — I wanted to do any and every club that I saw on the school bulletin board. So in third grade, when a poster for First Lego League Jr. went up on the wall, it was natural for me to bring my newfound interest in robotics to my parents’ attention. My dad is an engineer, so it was easy to get him to say yes (unlike with dance, karate, theatre, guitar lessons, tennis — you get the picture, I had unrealistic expectations). After my parents got on board, there was only one thing left to do: go to the meeting. So that following Thursday, I stayed after school and went to the gym. And to my surprise, there were 30 children standing there with me. But there was one thing wrong with the picture: There was only one other girl amidst a sea of boys! Turns out that girl, Olivia, was the daughter of the person who would end up being my robotics coach.

Now, I thought this whole FLL Jr. thing would be a fluke. I mean, the word Lego is practically a 10-year-old boy magnet. But turns out, I would be in roughly that exact same situation two years later. In the summer between 4th and 5th grade, I was granted a Girl Scouts scholarship to attend an expensive engineering/tech camp on the University of Michigan campus. Since we attended the camp through Girl Scouts, my mother thought that it would be an all-girls camp. So I, being the bright-color-loving 10-year-old I was, arrived at the camp wearing a bright blue flowing shirt, with some bright blue shorts from my favorite store, Justice. I got out of the car, excited to meet my hypothetical new best friend, and to my dismay, a boy hopped out of the car next to us and started walking in the same direction as my mom and I. Thinking it was just a coincidence, I kept walking and didn’t let it bother me. But then, car after car would roll up, and sure enough, boy after boy would hop out. As the building got closer and closer, I got more nervous with every step. Not surprisingly, when I opened the building doors, I was greeted with yet another sea of boys. Not one other kid — out of at least 50 — in the room was a girl! Flash forward to the end of the day, where all the camp-goers were waiting outside for their parents. I was exhausted. Throughout the entire day, I had hardly talked to anyone. Practically the only people who talked to me were the counselors, and those awkward conversations were out of pity! I was almost in tears, and there I was, playing camp games with my new peers. It took forever for them to finally release us, and when they did, I walked back to my family, slumped into the car, and began crying. After that, I contemplated quitting. But, since I really wanted to learn about technology, I rolled out of my bed the next day, put on some more bright clothing, and went to the University of Michigan the second day, and the third day, and the fourth day, and, finally, the fifth day. Because I knew that I wanted to do technology, and no group of boys can stop me from my pursuit of happiness!

Those two little stories lead me here, today. These past few years, I have been on an all-girls robotics team, The Pink Eagles, with Olivia, and competed in three seasons of FLL, one season of the Wonder League Robotics Competition, and one season of Robofest. During these years, our robotics team has won 1st place at all three of our regional FLL tournaments, and last year we won 2nd place at our state FLL competition and advanced to the North American Championship at Legoland, California. Finally, we won 1st place at the Wonder League Robotics Competition. Sadly, all of our robotics team has aged out of our usual competitions. So, Olivia and I will be mentoring the new members of The Pink Eagles, as well as working to earn our Girl Scout Silver Award to get younger girls interested in robotics. Although my experience with robotics got off to a rocky start, and I know that other girls may have similar experiences too, I hope that young girls persevere and follow their dreams. Because no fear or intimidation of any sort should be able to stop anyone from following their dreams.

The Pink Eagles won last year’s Wonder League Robotics Competition from Wonder Workshop. Join this year’s competition for free. Registration open through December 31st.

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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.