Pit Judging @ the Competition

At the competition Pit Judges go from pit to pit asking students what questions ?

Blue shirts for non-safety. Green shirts for safety.

What are the typical questions ? Are there typical questions ?

Inquiring minds want to know !


Look for paper “Judging Hints at the Regionals” There are a few suggestions there.

Jenny’s link has a lot of info in it. The judges are coming for any award that is presented at that regional except the awards that are judged off site, like Woodie Flowers, animation, team website, etc. I recommend to team mentors that when a blue shirt shows up, you should take a giant step out of the pit top keep from succumbing to the temptation of saying something. The judges really want to talk to students so make sure your students know about the team, the robot, strategy, etc. A judge cannot make a decision with a shoulder shrug. They want to hear about your successes and how you overcame things that didn’t work.

Have the students do the talking.
Make sure your students go over the “Awards” before competition.
Many judges (especially returning judges) are looking ofr info for a specific award. If they are asking you questions about the team involvment and recognition in the community, there are not likely there for “robot” related awards.

In general, treating the judging as an informal interview works well. A good tip for interviewing is STAR format.
Situation/Task: Background info relative to question and answer.
Action: What you/your team did.
Results: How it worked out (measureables are good).

For years we ( the team mentors ) have always pretty much vanished ( or stepped off some distance) when the blue shirts show up. I have plenty of pictures (taken from a distance) of judges and students talking.

Therefore I do not have any 1st hand experience listening to that discussion.

The original posted question is not only for our team but all teams. Lets say at school one day Randy, Paula, and Simon setup and quizzed the team. What would they ask, what are they looking for ?

How to train R, P, & S to do the interviews is the base question.

The second part of the answer is obviously the elevator pitch. Longer than 30 seconds, maybe closer to 90 seconds but a fast ‘chairman’s lite’ type of type that stokes judges inquiries and move the conversation in a direction you might like to see it go.

There are no standard questions.

But you can help the judges make good and smart decisions.

Al and Ike gave you some great answers.

Figure out which awards your team wants to “compete” for and then help the judges by explaining why your team is competitive for these awards. Read the criteria. Got a fantastic thingamabob and want to win the thingamabob award? After the lead in questions from the judges ask if they want to hear all about the thingamabob. But don’t “embellish” because there will be fact-checking. Why did you design the thingamabob this way? Did you try something else first? Talk about what makes your team your team.

Have the students practice the same way they would practice for a college interview. These are the life skills that the students can learn as part of the team that are so important.

I will repeat a couple of things I put in the “Hints” paper on NEMO. These judges have a hard job to do and have to make a lot of decisions in a short amount of time. Help them make the right decisions. Help them understand why your team deserves to be in the running for the thingamabob award.

And don’t forget to thank them!

Good luck!

All great suggestions and I will add a few more.

Look at the definition of the awards in the manuals and understand what the judges are looking for. Have a couple of your team members that will be in the pits the majority of the time well versed on possible answers to the questions.

Speak loudly and clearly when talking to the judges. They want to hear what you have to say and it would be a shame if they cannot hear you.

At some regionals, judges divide into teams that focus on machine attributes and team attributes and you should be able to figure out which aspects they are looking for based on their first couple of questions. Keep your answers focused in this area. If they are asking about your outreach to the community, try to keep your answer focused in that area.

Make sure all students in the pit are able to talk to a judge for at least basic answers. Things like how is the team doing at the competition, why are they there, etc. Judges may talk to anyone on the team and everyone should be able to give basic answers.

Watch your behavior at the competition at all times. Judges are observing teams even if the are not talking with them. Nothing worse than to be showing bad GP when a judge is walking by the pit. It will be noted and could eliminate you from being considered for an award.

Judges have to remember a lot of stuff. A simple handout with your team number and information that is relevant to the awards can be given to the judges. They can then use this later when deciding on the awards to help refresh their memory. Keep is pointed and well organized because a lot of information is being processed by the judges.

Practice with your team before the competition. Have parents or mentors look at the award criteria and ask you questions. It would be best to have someone the team is not familiar with ask the questions since they probably will not be familiar with the judges either.

Remember that the judges really want to hear what you have to say. You can be comfortable but respectful when talking to them.