FIRST LEGO League
Register a team for the 2020-2021 RePlay season!
Click here to learn about this year's challenge and see official FLL Challenge resources
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FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge is a robotics competition developed for upper elementary and middle school age students. The FLL theme is different each year and is drawn from real events in society. There are three primary activities: 1) Build and program a small LEGO robot to accomplish challenges, 2) investigate a research topic then prepare a presentation, and 3) build a team around the FLL Core Values. Teams have regular practices (just like a sports team) to prepare for a culminating tournament at which they will meet and share their work with other teams.
Robot challenges are the most visible aspect of the competition. LEGO robots are built and programmed to perform different tasks on a 4'x8' printed playing mat. The robot interacts with specialized LEGO parts that represent the tasks. Each year the playing mat and LEGO models which reflect the annual theme. The core LEGO robot kit and competition table are reusable every year. The mat and challenge parts are NOT reused but provide additional parts for the team to use in future seasons and are great for off-season games and practice.
An equally important aspect of the competition is the research topic or project. Like the robotic challenges, the project has some connection with the overall FLL theme. Students are given basic guidance then encouraged to create a solution for the research challenge. They research the topic, propose a solution, then develop a presentation that summarizes and defends their conclusions.
Everything comes together at a Tournament. The team meets with judges for a judging session to present their project, for a technical review of their robot, and to demonstrate how the team learned and used the FIRST Core Values. All teams are assessed on Core Values behavior throughout the competition. Each team also attempts the robots challenge tasks three times on the competition tables.
Tournaments provide an exciting opportunity for teams to learn from each other and share their excitement rather than a "winner takes all" competition. Teams advance to the Alaska State Championships based on overall performance at the competition.
Alaska typically hosts regional competitions that feed two Championships, an Invitational in Anchorage (teams must qualify in advance) and an open compeition in Fairbanks (open to all teams).
- FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge is a robotics competition developed for upper elementary and middle school age students. It works simarly to a sports team with regular practices where teams learn rules and skills and work together to prepare for competition.
- The goals are to inspire students to take an interest in science and technology and begin considering these fields as a career.
- There are three primary activities:1) Build and program a small robot to accomplish various challenges, 2) Investigate a research topic and present findings at the tournament, and 3) Build a team around FIRST Core Values.
- FLL Teams are 2-10 kids who are in the age range of 9 to 14 years of age.
- Teams form in schools, clubs, and neighborhood groups. No requirements on affiliation.
- Teams need at least 2 adult coaches/mentors.
- Most teams form up in late spring or early September.
- Registration opens late spring. Registration usually closes mid to late September. (Note: Registration is extended for the 2020-2021 season)
- The challenge is released in August or early September
- State regional qualifier competitions typically happen all over the state from late November to early January. There are two state championships, one in Anchorage in January and the other in Fairbanks usually in February. Teams must qualify to advance to the state competition in Anchorage. The Fairbanks Championship is open to all teams.
- New coaches and mentors will have several opportunities to attend workshops early in the season.
- There are teams in most areas of the state including remote villages. Teams can be started ANYWHERE. Teams that are unable to travel can still share their work and compete with other teams thanks to the GCI Virtual Competition held each year.
- Qualifiers are held around the state: Kenai, Juneau, Bethel, Palmer, Anchorage, and Fairbanks usually host tournaments. Any region with at least 12 participating teams is invited to host an official qualifier. Regions with fewer teams are encouraged to host unofficial "local" events.
- Many teams meet in school classrooms as an after school club. Basements, garages, and just about any other place works great too.
- Check the FLL website for information on starting a team. More information and assistance is available by emailing email@example.com.
- An FLL team is fairly inexpensive. A typical first year team will spend around $1,000 total to register, build a play field, buy a robot kit and extra parts. Returning teams spend around $500 per year.
- Teams are funded by schools, parent-teacher organizations, parents, or other sources of funds. Some find corporate sponsors. There are a limited number of new team grants available for teams with financial needs.