ColoradoFIRST

FIRST® LEGO® League Explore

Welcome to FIRST LEGO League Explore!

FIRST LEGO League Explore is a hands-on program designed to inspire, excite, and introduce kids ages 6 to 10 to the wonders of science, technology, and engineering in teams of up to six children. This program features a real-world challenge explored through research, critical thinking, and imagination. Guided by adult coaches and the FIRST Core Values, team members work with LEGO elements and motorized parts to build ideas and concepts and present them for review. FIRST LEGO League Explore:

  • Teaches the benefits of teamwork
  • Sparks initial interest in science and technology
  • Introduces basic design skills through a hands-on approach with the familiarity and fun of LEGO building; and
  • Provides a culture of sharing and learning from others.

The culmination of the hard work for many teams is the participation in a FIRST LEGO League Explore event. Volunteer Reviewers at the event interview teams to learn about their LEGO Model and Show Me poster. All the teams are celebrated and leave with an award. While participation in an event is not a requirement, we strongly encourage teams to attend this impactful experience. 

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!

Upcoming Events

Festivals

  • Check back in the fall to see the new festival schedule for the 2024-25 season!

Other Events

FIRST® LEGO® League Explore 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.
  • Every registered team will receive…
    • Team Meeting Guide – coach will receive 1 with paid team registration; also, the coach will have digital access to a PDF copy
    • Engineering Notebooks – coach will receive 6 with paid team registration; also, the coach will have digital access to a PDF copy
    • LEGO Explore Set building elements and instructions – coach will recieve with paid team registration
  • Resources for MASTERPIECESM

Funding opportunity for U.S. teachers:

Partial funding for FIRST LEGO League Explore team materials is available to U.S. public and charter school teachers, thanks to NewsCorp & DonorsChoose.org. Teachers can receive funding for LEGO® Education robot kits and LEGO® building sets from LEGO Education!
Learn more.

Send a message to Anya Wiens – Program Delivery Partner for FLL Explore

FLL Explore

LEGO® Education SPIKE Essential is the newest version of robotics kits available for Explore. More information can be found here. The SPIKE App is compatible with Windows 10, ChromeOS, macOS, iOS, and Android. It requires administrator rights, and a stable internet connection during installation. View system requirements and download the app here.

Looking for Help? - Request Support Today!

  • Need help starting a team?
  • Struggling to pay for registration?
  • Can’t afford robot supplies?
  • Need help building your program?

     Colorado FIRST want to help! Click Here to fill out a support request. 

Build the Future

Frequently Asked Questions

Children learn best when they construct something real. FIRST LEGO League Explore’s annual Challenge asks teams of up to 6 children, ages 6 to 10, to explore a real-world theme using an exclusive LEGO® Education Inspire Model as a starting point. From there, teams design their own models with LEGO® elements.

  • Please note: Coaches will sometimes ask if they can have more than 6 children on a team. That maximum is set for both the coaches’ benefit, so they can effectively and confidently manage and guide all the individuals on the team, and also for the best educational experience for the student team members. Coaches may coach multiple teams, so if you have 8 interested children, you may form two teams of 4 children each.
  • Clarifications on the age range: the minimum 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 ready for the fun and challenges of FIRST LEGO League Explore. Also, 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 two kindergarteners and three second graders, for example.)

As they work, they learn basic engineering and programming skills with LEGO Education SPIKE Essential or WeDo 2.0 and apply those concepts to make their model move. Teams also document their work in an engineering notebook and share their journey through a team Show Me Poster.

Throughout their experience, teams operate under the FIRST Core Values, celebrating the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition®. The season concludes in a non-competitive Festival to publicly applaud the accomplishments of each team!

The bottom line? We have fun!
In Colorado, official Festivals usually take place on select Saturdays and sometimes on Sundays, scheduled between November and early May; occasionally, Festivals are scheduled on a weeknight. Festivals will occur throughout the state, where there is a confluence of teams and several times during the season in areas of higher team density.

During these approximately three-hour events, each team discusses its Challenge research, Show Me Poster, and LEGO model with FIRST LEGO League Explore reviewers. Colorado does not require or expect presentations; teams should think of their time with Reviewers as a conversation to communicate and show off what they have learned and experienced.

Team building and demonstrations, including robot action, from the other FIRST programs, round out the Festival. Finally, the event concludes with a fun awards and closing ceremony. In FIRST LEGO League Explore, everyone is a winner!

FIRST and LegoEducation have teamed up to provide a younger division of FIRST LEGO League for children ages 4-6, using teamwork and the Engineering Design Process, usually in a classroom setting. This division is available in what FIRST calls “Class Packs”; each Class Pack serves 8 young learners.

For more information about the exciting FIRST LEGO League Discover program, click Discover.

You can learn more about how to deliver this program with your class or within your school or other organization: Discover Class Pack.

Most LEGO classes or clubs are only focused on building and programming with LEGO pieces, but FIRST LEGO League Explore 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. Explore 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, building a consensus, and making a compromise.

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 2021-2022, 96 percent of FIRST LEGO League teams in the region were affiliated with an elementary school, with the remaining teams coming from groups of family/friends, home school groups, or youth organizations, like 4-H, Scouts, and libraries.

We recommend checking with your local school to see if a team exists or if there is interest in starting one. We highly recommend checking with the high school FIRST teams from your district, who sometimes mentor teams at other levels.

Some other options:

• Start your own team; no experience or technical background 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

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.

FIRST LEGO League Explore fees are charged per team. Costs typically include:

Yearly single team registration: $125.00 + approximately $18 (shipping and handling) and tax, if applicable
This fee includes LEGO Explore Set, Engineering Notebooks (for each team member), and Team Meeting Guide (lesson plans and other resource material for the coaches). See FIRST’s national website for a detailed breakout.

Startup Equipment: $320.00 + approximately $15 (shipping and handling) and tax, if applicable

Each team needs a FIRST LEGO League Explore SPIKE Essential OR WeDo 2.0 Set (used with a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device or laptop, not included in listed cost). The robotics set is a one-time purchase that can be used in subsequent years. See Software Requirements for SPIKE Essential or Software Requirements for WeDo 2.0.

Optional costs:

  • Show Me poster supplies
  • Additional LEGO building elements
  • Team T-shirts
  • Snacks
  • Local travel to a FIRST LEGO League Explore Festival (there is no extra registration cost for Colorado Festivals)

Ways to think about covering some or all of the costs:

    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 Explore 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 yearly team registration fee and other incidental costs.
    3. You can look for sponsors among businesses in your community or among business owners in your team members’ families.

May: FIRST LEGO League Explore registration opens.

August: Season Challenge details released.

August-May: Teams choose any time frame within the season to schedule their meetings. Most teams meet once per week over 12-16 weeks to complete the Challenge. However, the meeting schedule is flexible, so coaches develop a schedule and number of meetings that work for their team.

November-early May: Teams attend a Festival (usually on select Saturday mornings, but the schedule is dependent on each Festival host site) to celebrate their accomplishments. Find the schedule here: Festival schedule

Number of meetings

Teams typically can complete the season challenge in 12 facilitated sessions outlined in the Team Meeting Guide and Engineering Notebook.

New teams may want to add a few meetings to introduce basic engineering and programming skills.

We also encourage teams to include field trips as a part of their challenge research, which may add to the number of team meetings.

Coaches commonly do some preparation before the teams begin meeting to get “grounded in the program.” Once the meeting schedule begins, prep work before each meeting is generally limited in scale, because FIRST provides the Team Meeting Guide, which outlines suggested lesson plans for each meeting.

Timeline

Teams may begin meeting as soon as they register, which is when many teams purchase their SPIKE Essential or WeDo 2.0 robotics kit. The Challenge is released in August, which is when teams will receive the full set of Challenge materials (Explore Set, Team Meeting Guide, and Engineering Notebooks). You can choose the time span that works best for you; just make sure to allow enough time to complete the Challenge before the Festival you have chosen to attend.

In Colorado, official Festivals usually take place on select Saturdays and sometimes Sundays, scheduled between November and early May; occasionally, Festivals will be scheduled on a weeknight. Festivals will occur throughout the state, where there is a confluence of teams and several times during the season in areas of greater team density. Festivals typically run from 9 am to noon, but the time frame may vary depending on the host site.

Contact us!

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

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 teacher. Think outside the box: don’t limit yourself to approaching math, science, or technology teachers; ANY staff member has a great deal to offer as a FIRST LEGO League Explore coach.
  • 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’s a parent or grandparent 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 Explore teams can have 2-6 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 a 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 6) children between the ages of 6 and 10 (5-year-old kindergarteners can join, too). 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 an official Festival. Find the schedule here: Festival schedule. When you are ready to register, contact Anya Wiens, Colorado FIRST Program Delivery Partner for Explore.

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. The SPIKE Essential or WeDo 2.0 robotics kit and software includes many builds and accompanying programs for the children to learn from and eventually incorporate into their own creative solution to the problems they research.

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 a 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.

The purchaser or coach pays for the registration fee and materials ordered.

Once FIRST receives the payment, they will assign an official team number to your team. After that point, coaches may email fllexplore@coloradofirst.org to register for a Festival. Find the schedule of events here: Festival schedule

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 Explore 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 Explore into your classroom or multiple classrooms in your school or district, the Explore program has Class Pack options for up to 24 kids per Class Pack (you can purchase multiple Class Packs, if needed): 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 sidebar to let us know you’re interested or contact Anya Wiens, Colorado FIRST Program Delivery Partner for Explore.

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

Send a message to Anya Wiens – Program Delivery Partner for FLL Explore

FLL Explore

Help is available for any coaches throughout the season, by e-mail, phone, or video conversation. Please send any questions to fllexplore@coloradofirst.org

New Coach Training Slide Deck

Festivals are non-competitive approximately three-hour events where teams celebrate their hard work, make new friendships and share their projects with the community.

Each team discusses its Challenge research, Show Me Poster, and LEGO model with FIRST LEGO League Explore reviewers. Colorado does not require or expect presentations; teams should think of their time with Reviewers as a conversation to communicate and show off what they have learned and experienced.

Team building and demonstrations, including robot action, from the other FIRST programs, round out the Festival. Finally, the event concludes with a fun award and closing ceremony. In FIRST LEGO League Explore, everyone is a winner!

In Colorado, official Festivals usually take place on select Saturdays or sometimes Sundays, scheduled between November and early May; occasionally, Festivals will be scheduled on a weeknight. Festivals will occur throughout the state, where there is a confluence of teams and several times during the season in areas of greater team density. Festivals typically run from 9 am to noon, but the time frame may vary, depending on the host site.

Watch for dates, locations, and other details to be posted on this site later in the season: Festival schedule. Once the schedule is posted, coaches can register their teams by sending an e-mail to fllexplore@coloradofirst.org.

Festivals are free for teams, but registration is required to hold your spot. All events are open to the public at no charge, within current restrictions for facility capacity.

Please see the Festival schedule page to register for a 2022-2023 Festival; registration for Festivals may not be available until the fall. Coaches will email fllexplore@coloradofirst.org to register; please include team number, both coaches names and e-mail addresses, and the number of children on the team.

Events for our region are booked and scheduled in advance. Event hosts have the authority to cancel an event, if the host facility determines conditions 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 they 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.

Our intent is that each FIRST LEGO League Explore team will participate in only one Festival. We want 100% of our region’s teams to experience these invaluable opportunities for learning, communication, and celebration. Our host sites have limited capacity, so we appreciate your help in achieving our goal of 100% participation by only registering for one Festival, so all teams can take advantage of open slots. When there are more teams in a geographical area than we have capacity for at Festivals, we do everything we can to create new Festivals in that area.

Where are FLL Explore Teams in Colorado?

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