Nelson Team Grants

Nelson Team Grant Recipients: Lists and Maps
Nelson Team Grant LAUSD VEX IQ Leagues and Workshops: Schedules and Links
Nelson Team Grant Coach Training Handouts
Nelson Team Grant Sponsors

Nelson Team Grants seek to enable Title I and STEM-focused elementary and middle schools (grades 4-8) in the Los Angeles area (especially LAUSD) to start teams to participate in the VEX IQ Challenge robotics program. Our goal is to inspire students to pursue STEM degrees and careers. We provide schools with the resources needed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Note: Nelson Team Grants are closed for the 2021-2022 VEX Robotics season.
The 2022-2023 VEX Robotics season starts with the announcement of the new game at
the 2022 VEX Robotics World Championships in Dallas, Texas on May 12, 2022. This
webpage should be updated for the 2022-2023 VEX Robotics season by May 31, 2022.

Returning Schools

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we could not hold a regular season with coach training and leagues in 2020-2021. Many teams could not even hold team meetings. Existing teams were not required to participate in an official event last season in order to maintain their team grants in good standing. However, many options were available for teams that were able to meet, including Online Challenges, Virtual Events, and Remote Events. In Southern California, roughly 10% as many teams participated in 2020-2021 as participated in 2019-2020.

Schools that received Nelson Team Grants previously and that pay to register one or more teams for the 2021-2022 season are eligible to apply for the Returning Team Award. This award offers each school a VEX IQ Challenge Field Upgrade Kit ($100), which is required to expand the VEX IQ Challenge field from 4'x8' to 6'x8'. Schools that already purchased the Field Upgrade Kit can be reimbursed by submitting a copy of their paid invoice with the grant application. The award also offers an additional VEX IQ Robot Battery ($23) for each registered and paid team. Old Robot Batteries that have not been recharged since the 2019-2020 season are unlikely to take a full charge if they can be recharged at all.

Schools that received Nelson Team Grants previously and that register more teams for the 2021-2022 season than they did for any prior season are eligible to apply for the 1st Additional Team Award. Schools that register at least two more teams are also eligible to apply for the 2nd Additional Team Award. Schools that already paid their team registration fees for additional teams can be reimbursed for one or two additional teams by submitting a copy of their paid invoice with the grant application. The items included in Additional Team Awards are listed in the table below.

New Schools

Schools that have not previously registered any VEX IQ teams and that are interested in starting one or two new teams for the 2021-2022 season are eligible to apply for the New Team Award. Those that are interested in starting a second new team can also apply for the 1st Additional Team Award. Schools that already paid their team registration fees for additional teams can be reimbursed for one or two additional teams by submitting a copy of their paid invoice with the grant application. The items included in these awards are listed in the table below.

Items for Team Grants New
 Team Award 
 Additional 
 Team Award 
 VEX IQ Challenge Team Registration $150  $100 
 VEX IQ Super Kit $379  $379 
 VEX IQ Competition Add-on Kit $115  $115 
 VEX IQ Foundation Add-on Kit $150   
 Pin Tool $8   
 Extra VEX IQ Robot Battery $23   
 VEX IQ Challenge Full Field Perimeter & Tiles  $320   
 VEX IQ Challenge Full Field & Game
 Elements Kit
$120   
 New Team Total $1,237  $594 

Schools that receive a New Team Award are required to register one VEX IQ Challenge team ($150 registration fee paid by grant the first year) and to register that team for and to attend an official event (typical fee $155) each year. Schools that receive a New Team Award should plan to spend up to $155 the first year for event registration and $480 each subsequent year for team registration ($150), event registration ($155), field and game element kit ($120), and for additional robot parts ($55). The recommended team size is 3-6 students the first year and up to 12 students in subsequent years.

Schools that receive Additional Team Awards are required to register one additional VEX IQ Challenge team ($100 registration fee paid by grant the first year) and to register that team for and to attend an official event (typical fee $155) each year. Schools that receive Additional Team Awards should plan to spend up to $155 the first year for event registration and $310 each subsequent year for team registration ($100), event registration ($155), and for additional robot parts ($55).

Schools should have at least one background-checked adult coach (usually a teacher) for each team attending an event.

Nelson Team Grant Process

  • School submits Nelson Team Grant application.
  • LeRoy Nelson notifies school of decision.
  • LeRoy sends approved schools instructions to register team(s) if they have not already done so, Team Guide (PDF), and Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).
  • School registers team(s) and team contacts. No payment or student names are needed.
  • School forwards team registration order confirmation email to LeRoy.
  • LeRoy pays or reimburses the team registration fee(s) for approved teams.
  • A small box containing a Team Welcome Kit should arrive approximately one week after payment of fee(s).
  • One or more coaches attend Coach Basic Training.
    • Training provided by LeRoy Nelson and experienced coaches.
    • Covers robot building, programming, and team logistics.
    • No prior robotics or technical experience is required to be a VEX IQ coach.
    • VEX IQ Super Kits will be provided for the training.
    • Coaches bring a portable computer (Windows, MacBook, iPad, or Chromebook) that the team(s) can use later.
    • Coaches need to know how to use a computer browser, preferably Chrome.
    • Everything else that coaches need to know will be covered at this training.
    • Offered the week before school starts.
    • Additional sessions may be scheduled if needed.
    • Attendance is optional for coaches with experience at another school or for coaches that attended similar training. Discuss with LeRoy.
    • Schools may receive some VEX IQ equipment at or after this training.
  • Coaches may attend Coach Advanced Training.
    • Training provided by LeRoy Nelson and experienced coaches.
    • Covers programming, Online Challenges, Awards.
    • This training is intended for coaches with one year of experience and/or experienced or GATE students.
    • New coaches that attended Coach Basic Training may attend this training.
    • Coaches with more than one year of experience coaching robotics teams may attend this training and help train less experienced coaches.
    • VEX IQ Super Kits will be provided for the training.
    • Offered the week before school starts.
  • In August, LeRoy orders additional VEX IQ robot equipment, full field, and game kits for schools with trained coaches and registered teams. Most equipment will be shipped directly to schools. The complete equipment order for new teams ships in 6-8 boxes that weigh a total of 70-90 pounds.
  • LeRoy sends school shipping confirmations.
  • School organizes team(s) to learn how to build and program VEX IQ robots.
  • LeRoy works with Local Districts to organize and post leagues for local schools to attend.
  • LeRoy sends school instructions to register teams(s) for leagues and other events.
  • School registers team(s) for at least one official event (league or tournament).
  • School forwards event registration order confirmation(s) to LeRoy.
  • Team attends event(s).
  • Top teams qualify for State Championships, U.S. Open Championship, and/or VEX Robotics World Championships.

2021-2022 LAUSD VEX IQ Leagues

Our goal is to start 1-2 new LAUSD leagues and maintain the 10 continuing LAUSD leagues. Some continuing league host sites may change.

Each new league should have 16-24 teams. Each continuing league should have 20-36 teams. Each league needs at least 16 teams to qualify top teams for State Championships.

All new schools are expected to send one or more coaches to attend Coach Basic Training.

Coaches that attended Coach Basic Training may attend Coach Advanced Training.

All schools participating in a league are expected to send one or more coaches to attend the League Orientation, if offered.

Leagues will meet after school at least four times between October and January:

  • September: League Orientations for coaches.
  • October: Qualifying Session 1: Practice Teamwork Matches and Qualification Teamwork Matches.
  • November and December: Qualifying Sessions 2-3: Qualification Teamwork Matches.
  • January: Championship Session: Skills Matches and Judging followed by Finals Matches and Awards.
  • All league sessions start at 4:00 PM.
  • League Orientations end at 6:00 PM.
  • Qualifying Sessions end at 7:00 PM.
  • Championship Sessions end at 7:45 PM.

Nelson Team Grants by Year

 Year  2015   2016   2017   2018   2019   2015-2019   2021 Goals 
 New Recipient Schools  19  16  68  132  47  277  12-24 
 New Teams 19  16  68  132  86  316  36-72 
 New Leagues 10  1-2 

Nelson Team Grant Agreement

If my school receives a Nelson Team Grant, I understand that my school will have use of the provided robotics equipment for as long as my team fulfills the conditions listed below. A new VEX IQ Challenge season starts after the VEX Robotics World Championships at the end of April each year.

  • The coaches/mentors and administration at my school support creating a sustainable VEX IQ Challenge program.
  • The robotics equipment will be stored in a safe, clean location.
  • The robotics equipment will be used for official VEX IQ Challenge events or activities each season.
  • My team will complete and pay team registration each season (paid by the grant the first year).
  • My team will register for and will attend at least one official event each season.
  • My team will participate in post-season surveys to assure that the above conditions have been fulfilled.

In the future, if my team no longer fulfills the conditions listed above, I will return the robotics equipment so that it can be made available to another school.

2021 Nelson Team Grant Application

2021 Nelson Team Grant Application (Returning Teams Only) (Word document, 4 pages, updated 09/07/21)

This application should be signed by a school administrator, preferably by the Principal.
Please scan and email the signed application to LeRoy@LARobotics.org.
Applications are due by Friday, September 3 October 1, 2021.

2021-2022 VEX IQ Challenge Pitching In

2021 Nelson Team Grants: 103 Recipient Schools, 16 New Teams, 31 Additional Teams,
                                        141 Returning Teams, 6 Leagues, 0 State Championships

2020-2021 VEX IQ Challenge Rise Above

2020 Nelson Team Grants: 0 Recipient Schools, 0 New Teams, 0 Leagues,
                                        2 Remote Live State Championships

2019-2020 VEX IQ Challenge Squared Away

2019 Nelson Team Grants: 47 Recipient Schools, 86 New Teams, 10 Leagues,
                                        2 State Championships

2018-2019 VEX IQ Challenge Next Level

2018 Nelson Team Grants: 132 Recipient Schools, 9 Leagues

2017-2018 VEX IQ Challenge Ringmaster

2017 Nelson Team Grants: 68 Recipient Schools, 5 Leagues

2016-2017 VEX IQ Challenge Crossover

2016 Nelson Team Grants: 16 Recipient Schools, 2 Leagues

2015-2016 VEX IQ Challenge Bank Shot

2015 Nelson Team Grants: 19 Recipient Schools, 1 League

Never Give Up: The Journey of Bassett Robotics


Inspiring video about how the robotics team from Bassett Street Elementary School
made it to the State Championships and VEX World Championships their second year.

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

LeRoy Nelson, Treasurer
Los Angeles Robotics
1457 3rd St
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

E-mail: LeRoy@LARobotics.org
Mobile phone: (310) 529-4637, 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM Pacific 7 days
Home office phone: (310) 937-7226