FIRST LEGO League is an international competition organized by FIRST for elementary and middle school students. Each year in August, FIRST LEGO League introduces a scientific and real-world challenge for teams to focus and research on.

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international competition organized by FIRST for elementary and middle school students (ages 9–14 in the United States and Canada, 9–16 elsewhere).

Each year in August, FIRST LEGO League introduces a scientific and real-world challenge for teams to focus and research on. The robotics part of the competition involves designing and programming LEGO Mindstorms robots to complete tasks. The students work out solutions to the various problems they are given and then meet for regional tournaments to share their knowledge, compare ideas, and display their robots.

FIRST LEGO League is a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Group. It also has a scaled-down robotics program for children ages 6–9 called FIRST Lego League Jr.

Competition Details:

At the beginning of the competition season, FIRST LEGO League sends official materials to each registered team, consisting of a ‘challenge mat’, LEGO bricks, and instructions for building the items for the mat (collectively known as the Challenge Set, formerly the Field Setup Kit). The teams also receive a list of tasks, called ‘missions’, to complete involving each model on the mat (i.e. taking a loose piece from one model and placing it inside another). FIRST LEGO League gives teams complete freedom on how to complete the missions, providing that they are completed by a programmed LEGO Mindstorms robot with no outside assistance. The robot has two and a half minutes to complete the missions. Each team has a minimum build period of 8 weeks to analyze the challenge mat, design and build a LEGO Mindstorms robot, and program it to fulfill the given missions in any manner they see fit. The robot must be autonomous, and may contain only one LEGO Mindstorms programmable block and no more than 4 motors.

In addition to the live robot run, the competition has three additional judged sections with the purpose of providing teams with feedback on their achievement of the FIRST LEGO League learning objectives. The first judging session, Core Values, is designed to determine how the team works together and uses the FIRST LEGO League Core Values in everything they do, which include inspiration, teamwork, Gracious Professionalism, and Coopertition. In most regions, teams are also asked to perform a teamwork activity (usually timed). Secondly, in the Robot Design, or technical judging, the team demonstrates the mechanical design, programming, and strategy/innovation of their robot. Thirdly, in the Project, the students must give a 5-minute presentation on research a topic related to the current challenge. The required steps of the project as teams to first identify a problem that is related to the topic of that year’s competition, then create an innovative solution to their identified problem by modifying something that already exists or creating something completely new (an “innovative solution”), and then they must share that solution with others, such as real world professionals who have expertise in the annual challenge theme.

Levels of Competition:

Teams compete to advance levels. First, teams go to qualifying tournament. A handful of winners are then selected based on their performance at the qualifying round are then invited to the state championships. Awards are given at both rounds. Winners from the state competition (usually 1-2 teams) are then invited to the World Festival. The North American championship, with teams from Europe, Asia, and North America, also feeds teams to the World Championship.

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