In FIRST LEGO League Challenge, teams learn both through what we do (the Robot Game and the Innovation Project) and how we do it (the FIRST Core Values). Each Fall, teams around the world as presented with the Challenge. The Challenge is based on a set of real-world problems facing scientists, engineers, and communities today. It has two parts: the Robot Game and the Innovation Project.
Robot Game: Teams design, build, program and test using an autonomous robot kit with LEGO Spike Prime technology (other LEGO platforms are allowed). The robot must perform a series of tasks or missions to score points in 2.5 minute matches on a themed LEGO model playing field.
Innovation Project: Teams explore a real world problem that today's scientists and engineers are trying to solve, develop an innovative solution to that problem (either by creating something that doesn't exist or building upon something that does), and share their findings with others.
Core Values: Throughout their work on the Robot Game and the Innovation Project, teams are guided by the Core Values to build teamwork skills and make this a great experience for everyone involved.
For roughly 12 fast-paced weeks, teams work as a group to overcome obstacles and meet challenges. They learn from and interact with their peers as well as adult coaches and mentors. Teams work to find creative solutions to the problems presented to them in the Challenge. They then compete in a qualifying tournament where they celebrate their accomplishments with other teams, family and friends.
According to FIRST policy, FIRST Illinois Robotics can't give out any contact information relating to teams including coach names, meeting location, emails, etc. In short, we can’t directly help you get in contact with existing teams.
That said, with hundreds of teams in Illinois, there is likley a team near you! You can contact local schools, libraries, and youth organizations to ask if they have teams your student can join. If you would like to have your contact information sent to coaches in your area, please send an email to [email protected]
FIRST offers some assistance in reaching out to teams or other people looking for a team through the FIRST Forums. Perhaps you can make contact with another individual like yourself and together you can form a new team. FIRST has a national database of teams that you can search too.
Building a team sounds intimidating. A team consists of coaches and team members.
Finding a coach is difficult: not many non-affiliated adults aim to coach teams. In many cases, family, teachers, or mentors step up to coach. Coaching can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
What makes a good coach?
Coaches are not in it alone. Most teams have co-coaches, assistant coaches, or mentors to help throughout the season. Sometimes, it's as easy as having a co-coach that can host team meetings.
FIRST Illinois Robotics is here to help new and returning coaches. Between the different Challenges every year and policy/procedure differences, things change every year and FIRST Illinois Robotics wants to keep it easy for coaches to stay up-to-date.
If it is your rookie year, enjoy it for what it is: a survey of the course. Your goal should be to simply take a lap around the block with FIRST LEGO League Challenge. With a fun experience and meeting realistic goals under your belt, you and the students will be brimming with ideas about what to do next year. Whether or not your team scores high marks at a tournament, team members win by participating and gaining valuable experience.
Some teams start in schools, or with existing robotics groups. But how do new teams form? Recruitment has to start somewhere.
If you're looking to add members to your new team, here are a few ways to find additional members:
The cost of participation in FLL generally ranges from ~$1200 for new teams to ~$600 for returning teams. Teams can sponsor themselves, fundraise, apply for grants or sponsorship, or anything else. Check Here for current Illinois Grant opportunities for teams.
National Team Registration: $250 (+ $12 shipping) and $95 (+ $15 shipping) for Challenge Set (Game Mission Models and Mat)
This is required for all teams and is non-refundable
This includes the Challenge Set for the current season
It does not include the Illinois Registration Fee
FIRST LEGO League SPIKE prime Set: $533.90 (+ tax and $20 shipping)
First season purchase only: the robotics kit should be reused for subsequent seasons
Previous generation robot sets (EV3 and NXT) are also acceptable and can be found on online market places like EBay.
Software is open source.
FIRST LEGO League Price List is found HERE
Illinois Tournament Registration Fee: $175
Teams are able to attend a single Qualifying tournament
Illinois Advancement Fee: $125
Only for teams who advance past a Qualifier
Official Table: $80-250
This is average cost for materials purchased from a home goods store
Click HERE for construction instructions
Table can be purchased at AndyMARK also:
T-shirts: approximately $25 per shirt
Your team’s other expenses may include: office supplies, snacks and travel expenses.
Once the challenge is released (August 1st), a team typically meets once or twice a week for about two hours. This depends on the age (and thus ability to maintain focus), and other time constraint issues. Separate technical and administrative coaches can significantly reduce the work load of running a team and increase the fun for the kids and adults.
May: National Team registration and materials ordering begins
August: Challenge is formally released!
September 15th: Illinois registration opens and Qualifying event preferences become available for selection
October 13th: Illinois Qualifying Tournament Registration Closes
October 15th: National Registration closes (or earlier if all slots are filled)
November 1st: Illinois Qualifying Tournament Assignments are available
December: Illinois Qualifying Tournaments take place
January: Illinois Sectional Tournaments take place
February: Illinois State Tournament takes place