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Starting an FIRST LEGO League Team

Cost:

Product descriptions and costs are posted on the FIRST LEGO League website in April. The cost to participate ranges from $1400 for new teams to $850 for returning teams. A sample budget is at the bottom of this page.

One of the major purchases is a LEGO Mindstorms NXT or EV3 Robotics Kit. This kit provides a small programmable LEGO NXT or EV3 computer, and enough motors and parts to make a machine. If your team already has access to a kit, you can use that kit and not purchase a new one. Returning teams are able to reuse that initial investment each year.

Registration:

To participate in the program, all teams must register between May 5 - September 30 (*or until all slots are filled, whichever comes first). Registration is conducted on the national FLL registration website. Registration with FIRST Lego League gives teams access to robot kits, team manuals, team challenge playing field and access to a State Tournament. Registration for the State Tournament opens in early October after FIRST LEGO League team registration closes and requires a separate fee.

Note: Registration for state tournament is separate from registering with FIRST Lego League as state tournaments are independently organized.

Team Profile:

FIRST LEGO League teams can be part of a school classroom, after school program, extracurricular group, home school, neighborhood group, club or civic organization.

Team Size:

It is recommended that a team be comprised of no less than 3 students and two adult coaches. The maximum is 10 child participants. There are several team member roles and responsibilities that provide a basis for creating and managing the team. These roles include building, documentation, marketing, programming, quality control, research, strategic analysis, and project management.

Coach:

Teachers, parents, and technology professionals are all excellent choices for the role of coach. The coach must be 18 years or older and should possess the following abilities: the desire to explore side-by-side with students, good communication skills, prioritizing skills, and multitasking skills. The coach's role is to facilitate instruction and optimize the learning experience of the team members by allowing independent thought. Direct adult involvement or intervention during the problem-solving process is strongly discouraged. Coaches handle all the operational details: where and when to meet, organizing help for snacks, team costumes, etc. Coaches do not need technical expertise but must be willing to acquire some basic knowledge of the programming environment and LEGO robot building. As leader of an FIRST LEGO League registered team, the coach will have access to robot kits, team challenge kits, software and building instructional manuals from FIRST LEGO League.

Mentors:

Mentors are high school students or adults who provide technical assistance and guidance to a team. Often a single person fills both the coach and mentor roles. Sometimes a single person coaches several teams while each team has their own mentor. Sometimes it is reversed. Mentors give FIRST LEGO League participants the opportunity to explore scientific principles and practices while working with a positive role model.

Training for adults:

FIRST Washington provides training workshops for coaches and mentors in September and October. These are usually recorded and made available online. Check out our events calendar for details.

Time Commitment:

In general, two to three meetings per week with a minimum of 2 hours per meeting is adequate. An occasional Saturday or Sunday is often added before the tournament to finish projects and practice.

Practice Space Requirements:

Teams need enough space to build and test the robot on the FIRST LEGO League playing field (contained in the FIRST LEGO League Challenge Kit). The playing field is a 8' x 4' mat upon which LEGO pieces and various elements are arranged to create the Challenge missions. Additional materials (such as two-by-fours) must be purchased separately to build a border around the playing field. Setup can be as simple as clearing an area on the floor, or your team may opt to build an official FIRST LEGO League table (see the challenge rules for details). Some teams have found it advantageous to share a playing field with other teams in their area.

Computer Requirements:

Team must have access to either a Mac or a PC with an Internet connection. Internet access and a valid email address are mandatory to maintain contact with FIRST LEGO League throughout the Challenge season. The computer is used to develop programs for the team's robot. Programs are easily downloaded to the LEGO programmable robot controller (RCX, NXT, and EV3) via a USB cable.

If your team attends a local event or state tournament, you will need an on-site computer for the day of the competition and a laptop is best. Robot programs are often modified to accommodate the specific conditions of the tournament setting and to improve robot performance.

Estimated Budget:

There are a variety of fixed and variable costs associated with new or returning teams. Returning teams often reuse their robotic kit from the previous year. Also returning teams have already built a playing table. Finally, if there are more than one team at a location, the playing field can be shared, further reducing costs. Check out our Fundraising Resources for ideas on financially supporting your team.

Budget Item

Rookie Team Cost

Veteran Team Cost

U.S. FIRST

 

 

U.S. FIRST National FIRST LEGO League Registration (game design, youth protection)

$ 225

$ 225

U.S. FIRST Total

$ 225

$ 225

LEGO Education



FIRST LEGO League Challenge Kit

$ 75

$ 75

Robotic Kit: EV3 Robot Kit, EV3 Expansion Set, EV3 software, rechargeable battery and charger (1 time expense)

$ 439

$-

LEGO Shipping/Handling

$ 25

$ 25

LEGO Education Total

$ 539

$ 100

FIRST Washington 



FIRST Washington FIRST LEGO League Registration (competitions, mentor/coach training, team recruitment)

$ 325

$ 325

Additional Team Expense



FIRST LEGO League Table (1 time expense)

$ 85

$ -

Misc Expenses: Project Presentation, Shirts, etc

$ 200

$ 200




Grand Total

$ 1,374

$850

Cost/Team Member (10/team)

$ 137

$ 85


 

  1. FIRST LEGO League and State tournament registration fee’s are on a per-team basis.
  2. Challenge kit contains playing surface + special parts to make the playing field. This can be shared among teams if you sponsor more than one team. The playing field can be set up on the floor or a large banquet type table.
  3. Teams may use an existing LEGO EV3 plus any other official LEGO branded parts. Check the rules for specific part restrictions.  Teams with more then 5 students will want a second LEGO EV3 kit for $499. 
  4. S/H from FLL is typically $20-$25 regardless of the amount of kits shipped.
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See a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ)...

First Resource

View the FIRST LEGO League starting a team guide


Watch videos about FLL on the FIRST YouTube channel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting versus Joining a FIRST Lego League Team.pdf