Getting Started with FLL

Finding a Team

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.

With over 600 teams in Illinois last season there is likley a team near you.  You can contact local schools, libraries, and youth organizations to ask if they have teams your child can join.  You can click HERE for a list of last year's Illinois FLL teams to perhaps find some information to help you in your search.

Through the FIRST Illinois Robotics Yahoo! group you can reach out to existing teams or maybe find someone else in your area looking to form a team.  Click HERE to find out how to join the group.    

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:

Coaching can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.  One key goal of FIRST Illinois Robotics is to make it as easy as possible to form a new team and get started with the FIRST LEGO League. 

FIRST Illinois Robotics plans coach training sessions every season to help new (and experienced) coaches learn to successfully lead FLL teams.  You can click HERE to see upcoming offerings. Also, make sure you join the announcement list after registering nationally ,and you will automatically receive e-mails with more detailed information as sessions are scheduled.  

During the summer there are Robot Camps that kids can attend to get firsthand experience building and programming a LEGO Mindstorms(TM) robot.  And during the season there are workshops and scrimmages to help new and experienced teams get ready for the tournaments.

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 FLL.  With a fun experience and meeting realistic goals under your belt, you and the children 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 just by participating.

You are not in this by yourself!  Recruit an assistant coach, mentor(s), parents and guest speakers to help.  Others can help with team communication, host meetings, contribute technical expertise, lead fundraising and provide additional adult supervision.  Try to plan a meeting schedule that accommodates the participation of other adults.

Click HERE to start your FLL Experience!

 

What Makes a team?

A team consists of:

  • Three to ten children in grades 4th - 8th (ages 9-14) 
  • A coach (you don't need to be an engineer, REALLY!; a basic knowledge of how things work and a desire to work with kids is sufficient)
  • An assitant coach (or two) (not required, but recommended)

Costs:

The cost of participation in FLL generally ranges from ~$1000 for new teams to ~$600 for returning teams.  A sample budget is below:

Sample Budget: (Costs are subject to change)

Required Items:

  • National Team Registration: $299
    • This is required for all FLL teams and is non-refundable. 
    • This includes the Filed Setup Kit (FSK) for the current season
    • It does not include the Illinois Tournament Registration Fee.
  • FIRST LEGO League EV3 Robot Set:  $489 (plus tax and shipping)
    • This only needs to be purchased for that first season, and used for all subsequent seasons
    • Teams must have an EV3 robot.  It can be reused each season.
    • Previous generation robot sets (NXT) are also acceptable and can be found on online market places like EBay
      • All NXT sensors and monitors will work with EV3 brick and software
      • EV3 software will program the NXT brick in a limited form.
    • FIRST LEGO League Price List is found HERE
  • Illinois Tournament Registration Fee: $150
    • Teams are able to attend a single qualifyng tournament
    • Teams advancing to an Illions State tournament do not have to pay any additional fees
  • Cllick HERE for a budget worksheet

Optional Items:

  1. Official Table:  $60
    • This is average cost for materials purchased from a home goods store
    • Click HERE for construction instructions
  2. T-shirts: approximately $10 - $15 per shirt

Your team’s other expenses may include: office supplies, snacks and travel expenses.


Time Commitment:

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.

Sample FLL Season:

May:  National FLL Team registration and materials ordering begins.

May/June:  Robot sets and registration material, including Coaches’ Handbooks begin to ship

August 1st:  FLL Challege is formally annoucned

Early August:  Field Setup Kits begin to ship

Mid-September: FLL Illinois Tournament Registraion opens

September 30:  National FLL Team Registration closes or earlier if all slots are filled

October 15th:  FLL Illinois Tournament Registration Closes

October 31st:  FLL Illinois Qualifying Tournament Assignments are posted

Late November – December:  FLL Illinois Qualifying Tournaments

Mid January: FLL Illinois State Championship Tournaments

To Register:

Click HERE to start your FLL Experience!