5 essential steps to starting a FIRST LEGO League team:
1. Learn all about us
Each year in late August, FIRST LEGO League releases a new Challenge for teams that focuses on a scientific topic. Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and FIRST LEGO League Core Values:
Teams are challenged to learn more about the science behind the real-world Challenge theme, then use their creativity to design a solution (or modify an existing solution) to solve the problem.
The teams are required to build and program an autonomous (no remote control) LEGO MINDSTORMS robot that can perform theme-based “mission” tasks on a table-top playing field. The missions require the robot to navigate, capture, transport, or deliver objects. The more missions completed, the more points teams earn.
While teams work on the Project and Robot Game, they are guided by the FIRST LEGO League Core Values. This set of values is what makes our Program so special. Teams are encouraged to compete like crazy but still respect their teammates, Coaches, and even help their “competitors.” Our most important Core Value is “Have FUN!”
2. Form your team
Recruit up to 10* interested team members ages 9 to 14. Team members must not exceed the maximum age on January 1 of the year the Challenge is released. Students can only be on one team, but a Coach is allowed to coach multiple teams.
* Some coaches may have more than 10 children wanting to join the team. If they are not in a position to form a second team, they must make the difficult decision to select the final 10 members. We recognize this is not an easy choice. As such, we remind coaches who choose to include more than 10 members participating at any time during the season, they are ineligible to win any awards. Ten members is a strictly enforced limit.
3. Register, Pay, and Order Materials
Once you have a team (you do not need all team member names yet), register your team at your national level. Every team needs:
Challenge Set (formerly known as Field Setup Kit) – the practice field for your robot, including an exclusive selection of LEGO bricks, dual lock fasteners, and a roll-out field mat. The Challenge Set changes with the new Challenge every season.
A LEGO MINDSTORMS set to build your robot
If your team already has a LEGO MINDSTORMS set, you are not required to buy the Robot Set. Also, you may share your Challenge Set with another team if you wish.
4. Learn about safety
At FIRST, student safety is always paramount. Every adult must become familiar with our Youth Protection Program. Watch our videos and read our youth protection materials.
5. Review Coach/Team Resources
Part of the fun is researching the Project and designing/building your robot. FIRST provides a wealth of information in our Resource Library to help you. Find everything from technical guides, to fundraising ideas, or fun activities for your team. Once the Challenge is released, all the documents you need will be on this website (details of what the team is expected to complete for the season; information about how your team will be judged at a tournament).
Most teams spend about eight (8) weeks preparing for a tournament. Many new teams start by meeting twice a week for one to two hours. See how that works, and then adjust your meeting schedule if you need more or less time. Some teams work on both the Robot Game and the Project for part of each meeting. Others devote one meeting per week to each part of the Challenge. Work with your team to find the right balance. Understand that your team’s robot and Project must be ready before you attend a tournament.