FIRST  LEGO League Jr. Frequently Asked Questions (geared towards Colorado teams)

Please scroll down the page for answers.
  1. What organization is FIRST LEGO League Jr. a part of?
  2. What is the size of a FIRST LEGO League Jr. team?
  3. What age range of kids are on a FIRST LEGO League Jr. team?
  4. How many adults need to register?
  5. How do I register a FIRST LEGO League Jr. team?
  6. Does a FIRST LEGO League Jr. team need to be affiliated with a school?
  7. How often do FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams meet?
  8. What costs are involved?
  9. What do FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams accomplish? NEW COMPUTER PROGRAMMING REQUIREMENT FOR THE 2017-18 AQUA ADVENTURE SEASON
  10. What is the difference between the FIRST LEGO League Jr. program and other LEGO classes or clubs?
  11. What are FIRST LEGO League Jr.’s Core Values?
  12. What are FIRST LEGO League Jr.  tournaments like?
  13. Where and when will FIRST LEGO League Jr. Expos be held?
  14. How can I get my child involved in FIRST LEGO League Jr.?
  15. Contact FIRST LEGO League Jr. in Colorado

 

  1. What organization is FIRST LEGO League Jr. a part of? FIRST LEGO League Jr. is the non-competitive program for kindergarteners through 4th graders, within the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) K-12 family of programs. Please visit the FIRST website for information on their programs for all ages: www.firstinspires.org. FIRST LEGO League Jr. information can be found on this page: www.firstinspires.org/robotics/flljr.
  2. What is the size of a FIRST LEGO League Jr. team? Teams are 2-6 kids.
  3. What age range of kids are on a FIRST LEGO League Jr. team?  FIRST LEGO League Jr. kids are generally 6-10 years old (kindergarten through 4th grade); however, the bottom age is “soft”, meaning that we know not all kindergarteners are 6, and we know that many 5-year-olds are raring to go and completely ready for the fun and challenges of FIRST LEGO League Jr. Kids on a team can be anywhere in that age range; you do not need all the same-aged kids on a team. (A team could have 2 kindergarteners and 3 second graders, for example.)
  4. How many adults need to register? Two adults, age 18 or older, will need to register with FIRST as being responsible for the team. The same two adults can coach as many teams as you’d like. (So, if you have 8 interested kids, you could form 2 teams.)
  5. How do I register a FIRST LEGO League Jr. team? Go to http://www.firstinspires.org. You may register teams as soon as you know your two coaches; you may add the kids’ names at a later date.
  6. Does a FIRST LEGO League Jr. team need to be affiliated with a school? Absolutely not. In fact, many FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams are just a group of families whose kids are friends. Other FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams are formed at Scout groups, churches, daycares, libraries, recreation or community centers, or neighborhoods. You just need 2 people over the age of 18 who register with FIRST as being responsible for the team and the welfare of the children.
  7. How often do FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams meet? FIRST suggests that most FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams have 12-16 meetings, 1 or 1.5 or 2 hours per meeting. The average minimum number of total meetings is 8, with a total number of 16 meeting hours; many coaches have expressed that the kids feel best prepared with about 16 meetings of 1.5 hours per meeting. This schedule is flexible; the registration period for FIRST LEGO League Jr. is from May to April, so you can keep a once-a-week model and meet any few months in that time span….or you can spread out your meetings and meet once every 2 weeks for 4 months or even once a month for 8 months. Some teams even meet all year long, and do extension activities, just to keep the team/club concept going.
  8. What costs are involved? FIRST registration is $99 per Jr. team, which includes Engineering Notebooks (These notebooks are printed and shipped to teams. They complement the Team Meeting Guide and are used to guide team members through the season.), the Team Meeting Guide (This is a guide for coaches that gives complete instructions on how to administer the FIRST LEGO League Jr. program. It outlines 12 sessions providing 12-16 hours of guided activities for teams.), and some LEGOs. That is the only required cost, if you have LEGO elements necessary for building the model required by the FIRST LEGO League Jr. Aqua Adventure Challenge.
    1. FIRST recommends particular LEGO kits; you can see the recommended and optional products for this season here.For first-year teams, we highly recommend buying one of the kits, either the FIRST LEGO League Jr. WeDo 2.0 Set ($249.95) or the WeDo 2.0 Core Set ($167.15). That would bring your first-year budget to between $285-$375, including incidental expenses. ONE NOTE: If you are choosing to buy or use WeDo software, please make sure you have a system that will support that software. Requirements can be found at https://education.lego.com/en-us/support/wedo-2/software-requirements. If you do not have a system compatible with the WeDo software, procuring that system may increase your costs.
    2. In following years, the cost would drop to around $100-$125, because you keep using the same LEGO sets.
    3. If you have a limited budget, you may use LEGO pieces you already have, but some coaches have bought one of the kits recommended by FIRST, because they found that their personal LEGO supplies are short on “specialty” pieces, especially gears and technic beams that would make your motor do more interesting things, or because they do not have any systems that support LEGO computerized software.
    4. School-sponsored teams usually charge a nominal student activity fee to cover their costs. The LEGO kits become the property of the school, to support future FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams.
    5. Family-sponsored teams generally approach budget in one of two ways: 1) They split the entire cost among all participating families. Teams use the same LEGO kit each year, so the cost averages out over several years, if you start the team young and have returning members each year. The team would need to come to an agreement about what to do with the kit when the team is no longer meeting. OR 2) The coaches buy the LEGO kit (and then keep those materials when the team is no longer meeting) and then ask the families to pay a fee to cover the registration and other incidental costs.
  9. What do FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams accomplish? Guided by the 2 adult coaches, teams research a scientific topic (assigned by FIRST to all teams, globally; the topic is very broad, like “natural disasters,” so the kids can decide which specifics they are passionate about discovering), make a poster that shows what they learned, and build a model out of LEGO pieces that demonstrates some part of what they learned (NEW REQUIREMENT FOR THE 2017-18 AQUA ADVENTURE SEASON: including computer programming with LEGO-supported software, such as WeDo 2.0, WeDo, or Mindstorms). FIRST LEGO League Jr. students focus on teamwork, learning in real-world situations how to communicate, compromise, and consolidate ideas.
  10. What is the difference between the FIRST LEGO League Jr. program and other LEGO classes or clubs? Most of those classes or clubs are only focused on building with LEGO pieces, but FIRST LEGO League Jr. incorporates that as just one of three equally balanced and crucial elements: building (including studying and practicing the Engineering Design Process and learning computer programming on LEGO-supported software), scientific research, and Core Values/teamwork. FIRST LEGO League Jr. strives to capture kids’ interest, curiosity, and imagination; expose them to careers in science, technology, engineering, and math; and inspire them to be innovators in those fields, realizing that they can make a difference in the world around them. Through the Core Values and teamwork, they learn invaluable life skills, such as establishing effective communication, showing respect, demonstrating critical thinking, and building a consensus and making compromises.
  11. What are FIRST LEGO League Jr.’s Core Values? Core Values are one of the key aspects that set FIRST LEGO League Jr. apart from other STEM classes or clubs.
    1. We are a team.
    2. We do the work. Our coaches and mentors help us learn, but we find the answers ourselves.
    3. We share our experiences and discoveries with others.
    4. We are helpful, kind, and show respect when we work, play, and share. We call this Gracious Professionalism.
    5. We are all winners.
    6. We have fun.
  12. What are FIRST LEGO League Jr. tournaments like? FIRST LEGO League Jr. is a NON-competitive program, so the culminating event at the end of a team’s season is not a tournament or any other judged event. It is called an Expo, where teams have a chance to interact with other FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams, get feedback on their learning and teamwork with Guest Reviewers, celebrate their successes and accomplishments, and get inspired by demonstrations of older FIRST program robotics teams.
  13. Where and when will FIRST LEGO League Jr. Expos be held? Expos are generally 2-3 hours long and usually take place on a weekend. Our goal is to have Expos in various geographic areas around the state, from November through April. The exact schedule is in progress, because we are trying to form the Expo schedule around needs of teams. As Expos are planned, the schedule will be posted on this website here.
  14. How can I get my child involved in FIRST LEGO League Jr.?
    1. Because FIRST LEGO League Jr. is made up of very small teams of 6 kids maximum, many teams form already at their maximum capacity. Therefore, FIRST LEGO League Jr. is not an organization, like Cub Scouts, with a network of groups with open availability. We regret that we cannot just refer you to the closest team and guarantee that they will automatically have room for your child.
    2. Therefore, the most reliable way to make sure your child gets involved this season is to consider coaching a team yourself and pulling together just a few of his/her friends. Truly, coaching a FIRST LEGO League Jr. team is so much less work and time than you might think it will be. There’s not a lot of coach prep work to do between meetings. FIRST provides registered coaches with a detailed curriculum/handout that steps you through what to accomplish at each meeting. Your FIRST LEGO League Jr. Affiliate Partner Representative (team coordinator for the state) provides training for rookie coaches and on-going support throughout the season; you may always reach out to your Representative by contacting JrFLL.
    3. You can email JrFLL and tell us what area you live in, and we can let you know, if anyone else in your area has come directly to us, needing teammates. Please tell us what city you live in, what school your child attends (or if homeschooled), and what age and grade your child is in. Please also tell us whether or not we can share your e-mail address with others in your area who are interested in starting a team.
    4. You can check at your elementary school and phone the other elementaries or organizations near you to see if any of them will be registering FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams this season and if they have openings. FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams also frequently stem from community centers, libraries, scouting groups, churches, and neighborhoods.

 

Please contact JrFLL, if you have further questions. We want to be a resource and support for you and your children.