Desert Robotics

8 Botball Teams from Palm Desert Charter MS, John Glenn MS, LaQuinta HS, and Indio HS

Sweep the Southern California Regional Botball Championship!

Teams Seek Funds to Attend the International Botball Championship in Washington D.C. July 1 - July 7, 2009

Linda Reynolds, Educational Consultant, Botball Coach - Media Contact 760.424.6791

Desert Robotics, 

Adopt A Class Robotics (Non-Profit Organization)

P.O. Box 2452, 

Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

We need $20,000 to  fund trip to the Global Robotics Conference
and Botball Competition in Washington DC on July 1 - July 7, 2009.
Please help.  Even a few dollars makes a difference!

Southern California, Palm Desert, CA, Palm Desert Charter Middle School

8 Botball Teams from Palm Desert Charter MS, John Glenn MS, LaQuinta HS, and Indio HS

Seeking Sponsorship for their trip to the International Botball Championship

Washington D.C. July 1 – July 7, 2009


The Desert Robotics Botball teams from Palm Desert Charter Middle School, John Glenn Middle School, and La Quinta and Indio High Schools made an impressive mark at the Southern California Botball robotics championship held at the University of San Diego, March 14, 2009, and have been invited to compete in the International Botball Championship in Washington D.C. on July 1 – July 7, 2009.  The Desert Robotics teams from PDCMS, JGMS, LQHS need $20,000 to cover travel expenses to this once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete in this famous International competition. Sponsors have come forward but funds are still needed to send the 16 students and 6 adults to the East coast.

The Desert Robotics teams are a “David vs Goliath” story.  Many team members are “English learners”, some are recent immigrants from several different countries, speaking 7 different principal languages. While attending school and struggling to maintain the grades to qualify them for college these young people found time to create the winning robots that swept the Southern California Botball Championship.

Botball is unique in that all robots are fully autonomous.  Unlike other robotics competitions that rely on remote control to adjust the robot's tactics, Botball robots execute a pre-programmed strategy designed by the student teams.  Once the competition begins, no human input is allowed.  26 teams competed and cheered in the March 2009 Southern California Botball Championship, including well funded teams from several better funded school districts in Southern California. 

Desert Robotics Botball teams are deep in the heart of the low social /economic area of Desert Sands Unified in Palm Desert. So, funding for the program was hard to come by.  Teachers volunteered for robotics mentoring because no money was available for overtime, robot spare parts had to be scrounged or borrowed from other schools, and little money was available to transport the students to the regional competitions. The teams were barely expected to enter the competition, let alone finish, let alone place. Yet with so much working against them, the Desert Robotics teams somehow beat all odds and took several major prizes at the competition including:

Judges Choice Trophy for Outstanding Middle School and Judges Choice Award for Spirit.  Teams from Desert Robotics won 2nd, 3rd, and Finalist places in the Double Elimination, 3rd place for Documentation (sixth graders), 4th place Overall, and 3rd place Seeding,  We are especially proud of the sixth grade team that won 3rd place in the documentation portion of the tournament since they compete against teams from not only middle school but also high school. The Outstanding MIddle School trophy and Spirit Award went to an all girls team from John Glenn Middle School. 

One Desert Robotics Botball team from PDCMS was honored with the 1st Place Trophy for the National Research and Design Challenge Website at the Southern California Botball Tournament for their project on Robotic Prosthetic LImbs.  Another PDCMS team received Honorable Mention in this national competition.

The Desert Robotics teams are invited to participate in the National Championship and speak at the Global Conference on Educational Robotics, but the school district has no money to send them, with the parents having to take on the major burden to fund the trip.  Corporate sponsors are stepping up to help, but fundraising in these difficult economic times is hard to come by.  So we are asking for help from all sources to sponsor these underdogs’ life-altering chance to compete in the International Botball Championship competition.

Sponsors for PDCMS Botball Teams include:

Gary Okamoto, D.M.D. A Professional Corporation
77-564 Gountry Club Dr. Suite 190A, Palm Desert, CA 92211

Crescent Glass, Inc Glass
74-866 Lennon Place, Suite B, Palm Desert, CA 92260

Fletcher Family

Please consider sponsoring one of the Desert Robotics teams from PDCMS, JGMS, and LQHS in their life changing journey to D.C.  Anything you can contribute would be a great help, even a few dollars would be great, in getting this award-winning team to proudly represent Southern California in the International Botball Championships.

Thank you for your support!  Go Desert Robotics!!!   

Linda Reynolds, Educational Consultant, coach 

Desert Robotics, Adopt A Class Robotics

P.O. Box 2452, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270  760.424.6791


Corporations Sponsor Southern California Champion Desert Robotics Botball teams to attend the Global Conference on Educational Robotics

The KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, KIPR, congratulates the Desert Robotics Botball teams from PDCMS, JGMS, and LQHS Team winners at the  So Cal Regional Botball Tournament, held at the University of San Diego, March 14, 2009.   An estimated 200 spectators cheered for the 26 Southern California Botball teams competing in the competition. 

The 16 members of the Champion Desert Robotics Botball Teams are currently raising funds to cover the estimated $20,000 required to attend the prestigious Global Conference on Educational Robotics in Washington D.C. from July 1 - July 7, 2009.  Students from Desert Robotics have been invited to speak at the conference and present their project on Artificial Robotic Prosthetics.  Other team members will present papers on robotics, programming, team documentation, fund raising, and their Botball experience.  

Desert Robotics teams are part of the low income Desert Sands Unified Palm Desert School District and funds are not available from the school for the trip.  Donations are sought to allow the Desert Robotics teams from PDCMS, JGMS, and LQHS to attend this prestigious and life changing conference. The annual Botball Tournament takes place during the Global Conference on Educational Robotics . More than 6,000 international students participate in Botball every year and more than 60,000 have competed over 11 years. In 2009, teams from 23 states and 6 countries will participate in Botball.  Please see the website for more information and for instructions on donating or helping fund the trip to Washington D.C.

The Botball Educational Robotics Program engages middle and high school aged students in a team-oriented robotics competition that develops students’ science, technology, engineering, computer science and math skills. In Botball, all the design, coding, and building of robots is done by students, and no machining is necessary. The theme of this year's game was “Alternative Energy”.

For more information about Botball please see: or contact:

Linda Reynolds
Educational Consultant, Botball Coach

Linda has been a long time Botball coach and works with 8 teams under the Desert Robotics group here in the Coachella Valley including Palm Desert Charter MIddle School, John Glenn Middle School, La Quinta High, and Indio High. She is the director of a local non profit organization, Adopt A Class Robotics, that supports and raises money for the Botball program. She started Botball at John Glenn Middle many years ago and is still actively recruiting new teams and schools to participate. The latest new school to join the Botball team is Xavier College Prep. They will have an after school club for Botball this fall. Palm Desert Charter Botball Teams have won 1st place in the National Research and Design Challenge for the past 3 years. Her Desert Robotics teams from previous years have placed 1st and 2nd in the competition several times over the past 9 years.  She always encourages the students to write papers and presentations for GCER so each year all of the students have an active role in the Global conference. Seven of the 8 teams from Desert Robotics will be competing in the Global Tournament this summer in Landsdowne, Virginia. The Botball teams also have received several 1st Place Media Excellence Awards from the International Student Media Festival for their exemplary websites and video productions over the past eight years. They were honored with Best of Festival awards and Linda received the Carl F. and Viola V. Mahnke Award two years ago for her work with students. You can read more about Linda at:

Reggie Clark
Teacher, Robotics' Elective, ASB
Reggie teaches four robotics elective classes each day at Palm Desert Charter Middle School. He volunteers his time to the after school Botball program and provides extra material for the students. He will be attending GCER this summer with the 4 PDCMS Botball teams. Reggie shows great interest in all the students and helps to provide what ever they need to succeed. His classroom is filled with robots and all sorts of equipment to help spark the interest of the 6-8th graders he teaches.

Jonathan Reynolds
Educational Consultant, After school Botball coach
Jonathan teaches the after school classes at PDCMS and helps out with the Desert Robotics teams at John Glenn Middle School. His specialty is graphic arts, web design, and technology. 

Sheri Gundlah

7th Grade Math Teacher, John Glenn Middle School
Sheri volunteers her time as a Botball Coach and has been involved for the past 4 years.  She works with 3 Botball teams including students from John Glenn Middle, Amelia Earhart Elementary, and La Quinta HIgh School.  She uses the Botball robotics scenario and equipment in her 7th grade math class and includes exciting lesson plans for STEM standards based on robotics.  Sheri will we attending the Global Conference this summer and coaching her 3 Botball teams.  Her all girls Botball team won the Outstanding Middle School Team Trophy and the Spirit Award along with placing 2nd in the Southern California Regional Botball Tournament

Steve Goodgame, Executive Director

   KISS Institute of Practical Robotics - KIPR

   1818 W. Lindsey

   Bldg. D, Ste. 100

   Norman, OK 73069

   Phone: (405) 579-4609

   Fax : (405) 329-4664 

Marci Corie, Program Manager

   KISS Institute of Practical Robotics - KIPR


KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, an educational non-profit organization, will present 14 Botball Workshops and Tournaments this year - 12 in the United States and 2 based internationally.  The Botball Program begins with a 2-day professional development workshop where educators and team leaders learn about current robotics technology and how to implement it into their classroom or community. Through the course of the workshop, participants receive all the information about the current Botball game and the reusable robotics kit and components - Students construct a working demo bot! 

Desert Robotics- 8 Botball teams from PDCMS, JGMS, IHS, LQHS

The Southern California Desert Robotics- 8 teams from PDCMS, JGMS, LQHS consist of over 100 student members and 6 teacher/mentors, who partner to build & program robots for robotic competitions all around the Southern California area.  7 first languages are represented by these student teams from the neighborhoods in Desert Sands Unified Palm Desert.  The Desert Robotics Botball Teams made an impressive mark against stiff competition from much better funded and more robotically-experienced school districts, through a combination of hard work and clever robotics implementation.

Palm Desert Charter Middle School of Palm Desert, Desert Sands Unified School District

74200 Rutledge Way, Palm Desert, CA 92260 United States



Tara, 14, 8th grade - JGMS Team

"Robotics makes me feel smart." 

Leah, 17, high school senior going to Cal Poly San Luis Obisbo with scholarship. 

Leah has been in Botball since 6th grade. She now helps out with coaching the younger students and attended the So Cal Tournament 2009 to mentor the middle school girls team. Leah also mentored a team from PDCMS. Leah was a featured guest on a live webcast from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.   "February 24, 2005 was Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day and in honor of that JPL produced a live webcast featuring women from an middle school student to a full-time employee working in the engineering field. Leah Post, a 13 year old middle school student, was chosen to be one of the guests because of her involvement with Botball." Quote from Women Working on Mars: Get Involved in Robotics!  NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Webcast by Linda Reynolds and Leah Post.

"By participating in Botball, I have gotten to go to spectacular places like JPL and by doing so it has opened up a new career opportunity for me. I now know that this is something that I want to do as a career. One day I hope to work at a place such as JPL. I am breaking the barrier of male dominated profession and it feels wonderful!" 

Katie, 13, 7th grade JGMS

"Getting girls involved in Botball means more girls in engineering." 

Allison, 13, 7th grade JGMS

'Robotics has been the best experience for me."



Article in the Desert Sun, March 3, 2009, Palm Desert, CA

Charter School Students Study Prosthetic Limb Technology

Students win prize in the 2009 Botball Website Challenge

By Michelle Mitchell, The Desert Sun

One one level, a Palm Desert Charter Middle School student's project on prosthetics was just like any other class assignment. Classmates researched past, present and future designs o artificial limbs and wrote about their findings. But the robotics students took it a step further to design a Website and a functional robotic arm and hand to beat out hundreds of other teams in the research competition. "We get special permission to mess with things," said Jesse Hall, an eighth grader at palm Desert Charter who designed and put together the LEGO hand and PVC pipe arm. "It's what I like to do." Hall and about 30 other Palm Desert students won first prize and an honorable mention in the Botball 2009 Research and Design Website Challenge last week and will receive the awards at the state Botball competition March 14. "This is a really good project for teaching them how to think, how to figure things out," said Linda Reynolds, coach of Desert Robotics. The teams are diligently preparing for the state Botball competition, which is put on by the same organization that held the Website challenge. Students must create robots that will autonomously accomplish specific tasks such as moving or picking up objects. Desert Robotics embers hope to add more success in the state competition to their Website win, which they found out about last week. It was the team's second Website challenge, and they have already seen the impact of the experience. "Last year's Website was pretty ugly," though the team thought it was nice at the time, eight grader Alexander Nabavi-Noori said. "This year we're pretty proud."

The Desert Sun did several other articles this year about Desert Robotics at John Glenn and PDCMS.