The FIRST Lego League holds robotics competitions throughout the world for students from ages 9 to 14. These competitions are judged in four categories: Robot Design, Research Presentation, Teamwork, and Robot Performance.
Each year FIRST issues a set of challenges that a robot must accomplish that are based on a general topic. The team must design, build, and program the robot to accomplish these tasks using sensors, motors, gearing, general engineering principles, software, computers, etc. In addition, the team must prepare a presentation about some portion of that topic. All of this happens very quickly. The missions are issued in early September and the contest is late November or early December, typically that means that they have 10 to 12 weeks total to accomplish all of their goals. This is all sponsored and created by the FLL (FIRST Lego League).
Robot Performance Judging:
The robot is tested at the competition in a series of timed trials to see how well it accomplishes all of the mission objectives. The robot has two and a half minutes to do a bunch of very specific tasks. These tasks can be very simple, like pushing a lever on the field, to substantially more difficult, like delivering a container to a specific spot then actuating a dumping mechanism. Details of the challenges this year are presented by the team members here.
Robot Design Judging:
The robot design and programming is also evaluated at the contest. Regardless of how well the robot does on the field, the engineering is judged separately. The team takes their robot into a design review and explains to the judges about the design and design process, sometimes showing how they would accomplish their tasks and describing the process that the team went through to get to that point. The description of the team's robot (or at least one of them) is covered by the students here.
Project Presentation Judging:
In addition to the robotics, the annual challenge is based on a specific theme, last year it was nanotechnology, this year it is alternative energy. The team must also research the subject and prepare a project based on that topic. This project will be presented to another judging panel in a session consisting of 5 minutes presentation and 10 minutes of questions. The information that the team is working on presenting is discussed by the students here.
On top of all the other parts of the competition, the team is judged on their "teamwork". This concept actually consists of more than how the group works together, it also includes their enthusiasm, pride, dedication, and representation of the values of the organization (this includes such core concepts as Gracious Professionalism). In addition to a panel session with the team, there are teamwork judges throughout the competition facility watching how they work with themselves and with others. The Lego Guards have a section of this website called "the team" (here) where they describe themselves and their team's philosophy.