Battle Bots Description

Battle Bots Main Event:

Event Description:

Teams of 2-4 students will create a robot, using either Lego MindStorms or Vex kits purchased for TOT, prior to the day of the tournament. Parts from multiple sets may be combined. There is no weight limit for these robots. A balloon will be taped to the back of the robot and TWO THUMBTACKS may be secured anywhere else on the robot for attacking. Your goal is to pop the other team’s balloon before they pop yours or push them out of bounds. A remote-control program may be used to move and control the robot on the course. On the day of competition teams will compete in one on one challenges and advance through a tournament bracket to the final rounds.

Common Core Standards and 4C’s:

Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own ideas clearly and persuasively. Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking.

Designing and Programming your Robot:

Design Specifications:

Your robot will need to be able to drive around on a course and attempt to pop your opponent’s balloon while also maneuvering to protect your own balloon. Each team will be allowed to connect TWO THUMBTACKS to your robot with either tape or glue. You may also add weights to your robot, but the rest of the design may only include Lego or Vex pieces. The balloon will be attached to the rearmost part of your robot and must be no more than 6from the brain (no other pieces may block/cover your balloon). We will be using standard 12” balloons.

Course Layout:

The course will consist of an 8’x8’ square marked out on the floor. There will be two bricks on opposite sides of the course to mark the “starting line” of the two competing robots and two additional bricks on the course with thumbtacks attached to them.  Each brick will be positioned 12” from the edge and about 45” from each side. The bricks will remain on the course as obstacles during competition. (See image).  Beware of these obstacles.

Technical Requirements:

  • There is no weight limit for these robots. 
  • Vehicles must be constructed entirely with LEGO or Vex IQ pieces (with the exception of the TWO THUMBTACKS and tape/glue to attach them).
  • Weights may be used if they are encased so as not to be able to fall out or off onto the course during the match.
  • The balloon will be taped to the rearmost part of the robot and must be no more than 6” from the brain.
  • The robot’s wheels must fit on the board behind the starting brick at the start of the round, but other pieces may extend off the board.
  • During a round, if ANY of a robot’s wheels are out of bounds the other team wins the round.
  • The robots must be remotely controlled using Bluetooth or some other wireless radio. Various control programs and apps exist for LEGO including a Microsoft app(in the app store) and phone apps for both Android and Apple. Vex has its own remote control system.
  • Students may not touch the robot at all during each round. If there is a problem with the robot, it may ONLY be fixed in between rounds.
  • There will be 30 seconds between rounds to make adjustments and reset.
  • No firing projectiles or dropping pieces. The robot should attempt to remain in one piece.
  • No more than 4 motors may be used.

Battle Bot Tournament Bracket: 

This event will consist of multiple “matches” as teams advance through the tournament bracket. We will try to do a double elimination bracket, depending on the number of teams that register. The tournament bracket and schedule will be posted online and in the event room. Students MUST be ready when they are up. If a team is not ready to compete within 2 minutes of being called, they will forfeit the match and potentially be eliminated from the competition.


Each “match” will be the best of three 90 second rounds. Each round will end as soon as a balloon pops or a robot is out of bounds. A point will be awarded to the first team to pop their opponent’s balloon or push them out of bounds. At the end of three rounds the team with the most points (2-1, 2-0, or 1-0) will win the match and move on to the next bracket. If no team has scored a point after three rounds, or if there is a 1-1 tie, there will be one final 30 second break and then sudden death will begin where the first to pop their opponent’s balloon OR push them out of bounds will win the match immediately.

Battle Bots Design Document:


Students will create a document outlining the process of designing and testing their robot. There will be four main sections: Research, Specifications, Programming and Testing. The document will be submitted and scored prior to the tournament and will be worth 30 points. Design Documents must be converted to a PDF file before uploading to the TOT App Submission Portal no later than 10:00 pm on March 6, 2020.


In this section students will use the internet or other sources to search for facts and information about Robotics in the Military. They will need to provide specific examples of military robots and cite the sources they used for their research. Finally, they should describe how this research relates to their own project.


In this section students will list the weight of their robot, the dimensions of their robot (length, width, height) They will also include labeled pictures of their robot.


Students will explain how they controlled their robot to complete the task. They should state what program/app they used to drive it and discuss specific settings. They should also include a screenshot of the program.


In the final section, students will describe the testing of their robot and what modifications they made to improve its speed, maneuverability, and attack. This should include physical changes to the robot such as changing the wheels or redesigning the robot. It should also include changing the settings of the remote-control program/app. Students should include a data table showing the results of different trials.

Sample Data Table:






Original battle bot design.



Increased the speed of the motors to 90%



Used larger wheels on the robot, needed more friction.



Reset the controls of the program to easier buttons for driving.



Redesigned the attack arm but it was too weak.

If a team does not have another team to scrimmage against, they may simply list their modifications and how they improved/hindered their robot.

Getting Help:

Visit the Battle Bots Documents Page to see a sample Design Document and Event support files to help prepare and practice.

Contact Chris Fuge at or Greg West at if you have any further questions regarding this event.

Battle Bots Reward Points:

Reward Points:

Teams will advance through the tournament bracket in an attempt to make it to the championship round and win the final match. 1st place will receive 70pts and each subsequent rank will receive 3 fewer points than the prior rank (2nd = 67pts, 3rd = 64pts, 4th = 61pts and so on).


Scoring Breakdown Description / Formula Max Points
Online Design Document 30
Live Event Rank 70 - 3(Your Rank - 1) 70
Design Document Scoring Rubric
Category Exemplary Proficient Partially Proficient Incomplete

There are specific examples provided.

3 or more relevant examples are provided.

2 relevant examples are provided.

Only 1 relevant example is provided.

There were no examples provided.

Multiple sources have been referenced or cited in the research.

3 or more reliable sources have been referenced or cited in the research.

2 sources have been referenced or cited in the research.

Just 1 source was referenced or cited in the research.

There were no sources referenced or cited in the research.

The dimensions and weight of the robot are clearly listed with multiple labeled pictures.

All 3 dimensions (length, width, & height) along with the weight are listed and there are a minimum of 3 labeled pictures of the robot.

1-3 items are missing, could be missing a dimension, picture, or both.

4-5 items are missing, could be missing dimensions, pictures, or both.

There are no dimensions or pictures.

It is very clear how the programming or app makes the robot complete the tasks.

It is very clear how the programming works.

It is somewhat clear how the programming works.

It is unclear how the programming works.

There is no explanation of the programming at all.

There was significant testing to improve the speed, maneuverability, and attack of the robot.

5 or more modifications were very clearly described in the testing.

3 modifications were clearly described in the testing.

Fewer than 3 modifications were somewhat described in the testing.

There were no adjustments or modifications described in the testing.

A clear and detailed data table was included to show results of the testing.

The data table was very clear and easy to read with multiple entries and detailed results.

The data table was clear but lacked specific detail.

The data table was confusing and lacked detail.

There was no data table in the design document.
Rank Scoring Rubric

Ranking after conclusion of battles.