ColoradoFIRST

FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge

FIRST LEGO League Challenge

Welcome to FIRST LEGO League Challenge!

FIRST LEGO League 2024 Registration is open NOW at firstinspires. This year’s Challenge will release on August 6th. Coaches Training is available August 10th, PowerUp is September 28th, KCMT Workshops & Scrimmage are on October 12th, and Colorado Tournaments will be  held Nov 9th, 16th, and 23rd, 2024. Championship will be December 7th.

FIRST LEGO League Challenge introduces science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to children ages 9-14* through fun, exciting hands-on learning. Participants gain real-world problem-solving experience through a guided, global robotics program, helping today’s students and teachers build a better future together.

FIRST LEGO League Challenge combines the engineering challenge of a robotics competition with real-world problem solving and inventing.  Team members learn science and technology skills and valuable employment and life skills at the same time.  The FIRST Core Values are the cornerstones of the program. They are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FIRST LEGO League Challenge from other programs of its kind. By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.

*US age range; ages may differ, based on country.

The FIRST Core Values

We express the FIRST® philosophies of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® through our Core Values:

  • DiscoveryWe explore new skills and ideas.
  • InnovationWe use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
  • ImpactWe apply what we learn to improve our world.
  • InclusionWe respect each other and embrace our differences.
  • TeamworkWe are stronger when we work together.
  • FunWe enjoy and celebrate what we do!

Frequently Asked Questions

FIRST LEGO League Challenge gives elementary and middle school students and their adult coaches the opportunity to work together to research a real-world problem, then create an original solution for that problem, plus design and build a robot using a LEGO® Education Robot Set (LEGO Education SPIKETM Prime or LEGO MINDSTORMS® EV3) kit to accomplish “missions” on a playing field. The theme changes each season, requiring teams to be extraordinarily creative. 

FIRST redefines “winning” by rewarding teams for achievements not necessarily gained on the field of play—excellence in design, demonstrated team spirit, Gracious Professionalism®, community outreach, and more. Winning is always secondary to the quality of the overall experience.

After a few months of meeting, researching, building, and programming, teams compete in a qualifying tournament.  During the qualifiers, teams visit with judges about their project, robot, and team accomplishments for the season. Teams will also complete a practice round on the robot table and three official scoring rounds on the robot table. After a high-energy opening ceremony around noon, the official robot games begin.  The day closes with recognition and awards.

Any group can create a team: schools, home schools, community groups, churches, or just some friends who wish to do something awesome. Technical experience is not required.

In 2019-20, 76 percent of FIRST LEGO League teams in the region were affiliated with an elementary or middle school, with the remaining teams coming from groups of family/friends, home school groups, libraries, non-profits, company sponsorships, or youth organizations.

Because teams are structured in so many ways—from after-school programs to youth groups to parent-run teams—Colorado FIRST cannot match individual children with existing teams or share team contact information.

We recommend checking with your local school to see if a team exists or if there is interest in starting one. If one or more high schools in your district have FIRST teams, they can be a great resource, as their team members can mentor FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams. Some other options:

• Start your own team; no experience is needed
• Volunteer at FIRST events to meet coaches and mentors. No experience or technical background is needed! Just create an account here with FIRST; then go to your Dashboard and click on “Volunteer Registration” and then “Event Volunteering” to see all the opportunities.
• Share the FIRST for Educators webpage with your school to encourage the formation of new teams
• Post on our Facebook Page and ask if coaches have openings

New teams can expect to budget approximately $1,100 for their first year. The average cost for a returning team is $500. Teams can divide costs among members or secure grants and sponsorships.
One Time Fees
  • ~$498 + $20 S&H for the LEGO® Education SPIKE Prime Robotics platform.  This is the robot kit, including software and parts to build and program your robot. This can be purchased separately or during team registration. NOTE: The LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 has been discontinued. LEGO Education will continue to support the EV3 for one more year. Teams can continue to use the EV3 along with the NXT and RCX MINDSTORMS platforms in FIRST LEGO League and are not required to upgrade to SPIKE Prime.
  • ~$100 to build a 4’x8’ game table for the Robot Game. Specifications are here.
  • A computer for programming (Windows or Mac).  Price varies and not included in the registration fee.
Annual Fees (subject to change each season)
  • $250 + $12 S&H = FIRST Team Registration.
  • $95 + $15 S&H = Challenge Set and mat.
  • $110 = Qualifying Tournament Registration.
Examples of Optional Costs
  • Presentation Materials
  • Project Research Costs
  • Team Shirts

Teams have at least 12 weeks between the challenge release and the season’s first Qualifying Tournament. We are excited to be planning a traditional 2023-2024 season with Qualifying Tournaments in November and the Colorado regional Championship in December. 

The coach and team can determine just how much time to dedicate. Some teams work on skill-building year-round; others may only meet once or twice a week in the months before their event. Because teamwork is so important, parents should arrange to have their child attend most, if not all, team meetings.

Each team attends a full-day Qualification Tournament for a chance to advance to the Colorado regional Championship Tournament.

FIRST LEGO League Challenge opens for registration in May. The season concludes in Colorado in December, with World Festival and Open Festivals occurring in April-May. (See usual timeline from FIRST headquarters here.

Each team attends one Qualifying Tournament. This year we will be doing the traditional in-person events with the Colorado qualifiers taking place on weekends during November and Regional Championship in early December. We are excited to be back in person and enjoying the celebration with teams. Twenty to twenty-five percent of teams who compete in qualifiers advance to the Colorado Regional Championship.

Teams spend the months prior to their tournament getting ready for the competitions, typically meeting at least once a week.

Contact us for ideas to help you bring the FIRST LEGO League Challenge program to your students. Use the form in the sidebar to let us know you’re interested or contact Rebecca Parrent, Colorado FIRST LEGO League Challenge Program Delivery Partner.

You’ll be surprised how simple and rewarding it is to bring this inspiring program to your school or organization.

We get asked this question a lot. People who see this amazing program at work want to know how they can get their kids involved, too.  To be honest, it’s tough to find open teams. Most are started by schools, youth organizations, and motivated parents. FIRST youth protection and privacy policies do not allow us to disclose contact information of existing teams and coaches. However, there are a few ‘usual suspects’ you can ask:

  • Check with your child’s school to see if they have or want to start an after-school team. Find that motivated math or science teacher.
  • Look for independent organizations that you are involved with who might want to start a team. This could be churches, 4-H, boy/girl scouts, libraries, and neighbors.
  • Start talking about the program with your child’s friends; you might find there are other parents out there who would also want to provide their children with this opportunity, and you can all work together as coaches/mentors.

But how can I guarantee my child will be able to participate this season?
The only way to be 100% sure your child is able to participate in the upcoming season is to form a new team. This sounds daunting, but the good news is that you are not on your own! The first step is to find similarly interested youth and their parents to help form the team. Start asking your child’s friends and their parents. Check with your neighborhood association, home school group, scout troop, church, or any other organizations, clubs, or sports teams with which your family is involved to see if there is interest in forming a robotics team. FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams can have 2-10 youth team members, and finding the interested kids is never the barrier!

  • You get to pick the participants.
  • You get to pick the meeting times and location.
  • As coach, you become a role model.
  • You get a ring-side seat to observe the creativeness of your team.
  • You get to see the world through their eyes.
  • Recruit 2 adult coaches (age 18 or older). Think outside the box: coaches can be older siblings, college-aged babysitters, grandparents, work colleagues, or neighbors who miss their own far-away grandkids. If two adults supervise, the boots-on-the-ground coaches who are actually working with the kids can even be high school students. (This is a win-win: the younger children respect the older students, and the high school kids enjoy the interaction and can often receive credit for required volunteer hours for their IB, Honors, or other diploma programs. Also, older FIRST robotics teams love to coach teams as one of their “outreach” activities–sometimes, they just need you to approach them and ask!)
  • Recruit (minimum of 2, maximum of 10) children between the ages of 9 and 14. Children may be on only one team. (However, coaches may coach more than one team.)
  • Create an account, register your team, order materials, and pay for your team on the FIRST headquarters website here.
  • Find more details about starting a team here
  • Set up team meetings.
  • Register for a tournament.  Check back on this web page frequently during the season for updates.

No special skills are needed! You do not need any experience or background in robotics or programming. Adults act as team facilitators; the children teach themselves. Students develop skills through trial and error, sharing ideas with one another, and researching the current year’s theme.

Coaches register teams using the dashboard on the FIRST headquarters website. Create an account here to access your dashboard.

You do NOT need to know the children’s names on your team before you register your team. You may add the children’s names at a later date.

One coach registers the team, but each coach needs their own FIRST account. The first coach who registers will “invite” the second coach to create their own account and “accept” the coaching role.

Site coordinators for schools or youth organizations can sign up as a Team Administrator (or “purchaser”) to register team(s) and then invite coaches to join the team. Please note: Purchasers do not have to complete Youth Protection Program screening, so they will not have access to the team roster. If you want that access, you must register as a coach. Many teams do not have anyone in that Purchaser role.

Coaches authorize FIRST to complete the required background screening (at no cost to the coaches) and agree to the Youth Protection Program rules.

Purchaser or coach pays for registration fee and materials ordered.

Once FIRST receives the payment, they will assign an official team number to your team.

For more help on how to register your team, watch this video from FIRST for help.

Funding opportunity for U.S. teachers:
U.S. public and charter school teachers may receive funding for LEGO® Education robot kits and LEGO® building sets from LEGO Education thanks an opportunity from NewsCorp & DonorsChoose.org.  Learn more.

Other ways to think about funding teams:

  1. 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 teams.
  2. Family or community group-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 or community groups 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.
  3. You can look for sponsors among businesses in your community or among business owners in your team members’ families.

If you are ready to bring FIRST LEGO League Challenge into your classroom or multiple classrooms in your school or district, the Challenge program has Class Pack and School Pack options: Learn more.

If you need more inspiration, contact us for ideas to help you bring the FIRST LEGO League Explore program to your students. Use the form in the side bar to let us know you’re interested or contact Rebecca Parrent, Colorado FIRST LEGO League Challenge Program Delivery Partner.

You’ll be surprised how simple and rewarding it is to bring this inspiring program to your school or organization.

Complete the Have a Question or Comment section of this page and enter “I want to form a team” as the subject or contact Rebecca Parrent. Colorado FIRST LEGO League Challenge Program Delivery Partner. We look forward to helping you.

FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge MASTERPIECESM

Lights, camera, STEAM! Science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) inspire big ideas, bold action – and creativity. Our skills make it possible to create art and experiences that bring us together, entertain us, and move us. During our 2023-2024 arts-inspired robotics season, FIRST® IN SHOWSM presented by Qualcomm, we will celebrate the roles our STEM skills play in the arts and design and build a world of endless possibilities. The future is yours to create.

  • MASTERPIECE Challenge materials AVAILABLE NOW.
  • Registered coaches will receive printed copies of the Team Meeting Guide, Robot Game Rulebook, and Engineering Notebooks.
  • Registered coaches also have access to digital copies of the Team Meeting Guide and Engineering Notebooks.
  • Get the SPIKE™ Prime App.
  • Consent and Release Form  (This form must be completed before participation in any official FIRST event, in person or remotely. To better protect your personal information, FIRST respectfully requests that all participants or their legal guardians complete this form through their Dashboard, after creating a FIRST account; as a last resort, this printed form may be used.)

Funding opportunity for U.S. teachers:
U.S. public and charter school teachers may receive funding for LEGO® Education robot kits and LEGO® building sets from LEGO Education thanks an opportunity from NewsCorp & DonorsChoose.org.  Learn more.

Complete the Have a Question or Comment section of this page or contact our FIRST LEGO League Challenge Program Delivery Partner Rebecca Parrent. We look forward to helping you!

Tournaments

With FIRST’s announcement that Houston World Championship for the 2023-2024 season will be April 19 – 22, we will be keeping our traditional schedule, with Qualifying tournaments in November and the State Championship in December. At this time, events will be in person. Adjustments may need to be made, depending on local conditions and restrictions, as we move closer.

Tournaments are listed in the event calendar.

Resources

Below are a variety of options for teams wishing to have a table structure.

DIY Competition Table Build InstructionsManufactured Competition Tables
FIRST Competition Table (official)FLL Competition Table by AndyMark $229

General Event Info

Tournaments are the competitive culminating event for FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams. If the number of registered teams in the state necessitates Qualifying Tournaments, each Challenge team competes in one Qualifying Tournament. Based on their performance at Qualifying Tournaments, teams qualify to move onto the Colorado Regional Championship. Tournaments usually last all day on the weekends. 

This year 2023-2024 Colorado has scheduled in-person Qualifying Tournaments in November with the Regional Championship early December. Twenty to twenty-five percent of teams who compete in qualifiers advance to the Colorado Regional Championship.  If adjustments need to be made, depending on local conditions and restrictions, we will share more details as they become available, including specific dates and sites for events.

At tournaments, each team meets with a team of judges to present their research project and Innovative Solution; discuss their robot design, game strategy, and programming; and exhibit their Core Values and teamwork. Teams’ robots will have at least one practice robot game run and three scored robot game runs, with their highest scored run counting for the rankings.

In a traditional year, Challenge teams only compete in one Qualifying Tournament; the intent is to keep the playing field level for all teams and to allow 100% participation of all Challenge teams in this Region. 

There may be scrimmages or other unofficial event opportunities for teams to practice their skills, communicate with other teams, and celebrate their learning with peers.

All FIRST events are usually free and open to the public. We welcome cheering audiences and team supporters back to this year at the FIRST LEGO League Challenge events!

Registration will open soon.

The health, safety, and well-being of our participants and volunteers are our utmost concern. Events for our region are booked and scheduled in advance, so conditions may change between the time of booking and the actual event date. Event hosts, Colorado FIRST, and the global FIRST organization have the authority to cancel an event, if conditions are determined to be unsafe. This policy applies to inclement weather or any other public safety issue. If an event is not cancelled, it is up to the discretion of the parents and coach to determine whether or not a team and/or its members will attend. If an event is cancelled, coaches will receive information about alternative formats for the event, rescheduling of the event, or possibilities for registering for later events.

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