Team Information for City Shaper Season

 Important Information for the 2019 - 2020 City Shaper Season:

Join the Illinois Coaches Email List
Know someone who would like to become a FIRST LEGO League coach or just know what's happening in Illinois? Have them sign up for our mailing list !

Struggling to Find a Team? TeamUP App is Live:
Does your team need an extra student? Do you know a student who wants to join a team?  We have a new tool to help individuals find each other to form a team!   It is called TeamUP.   Help others find a team, form a team, or recruit for their team here. Registration is required, but it is free.   

National Registration Updates:  Get the most up to date info on National registration which is now open here
If you experience difficulty registering or completing your National registration, screening your two coaches, etc, please contact FIRST technical support at (603) 666-3906 or (800) 871-8326. 

Illinois team registration opens mid-July 2019.  Details can be found here:
Teams planning to compete at a Qualifier in Illinois will need to pay the $150/team Illinois Registration Fee by October 15th, 2019. Additionally, teams advancing to State Championships will have a $100/team fee (new this season). We have added this per team State Championship Fee to help us offset rising costs of the State Championship events. Please remember to set your annual team budget accordingly. 

City Shaper Innovation Project - Important Team Clarification:  Some teams are having difficulty clearly connecting the problem they chose for the Innovation Project to this year's theme.
This year teams were asked to: Identify a problem with a building or public space in your community. Design a solution. Share your solution with others and then refine it.
As you prepare for your Qualifier, we recommend teams carefully consider if your Innovation Project presentation is making clear that the problem you chose is related to a building/buildings or public space/spaces in a community as that connection should be clearly conveyed to judges during the Innovative Project judging session.

City Shaper Resource Library: Challenge, Updates, and More Resources

Consent and Release Forms

FIRST Illinois Robotics is requiring each team complete a Consent Release Form for each student, coach and volunteer attending (NO EXCEPTIONS – Participation is contingent on submitted consent before the opening ceremonies).

Coaches and team members have 2 forms to complete on 2 separate websites:

FIRST National Consent: 

Go to this link for details on how to digitally complete National Consent Forms (requires log in):

National Paper Consent Forms (only complete if digital are not possible):

English - HERE

Spanish - HERE

Illinois Consent Forms

Illinois Consent Forms (English) Can be completed digitally or printed.  

Illinois Consent Forms (Spanish) HERE

Illinois Consent Forms Directions:

Illinois Consent Form directions for coaches

Illinois Consent Form directions for guardians

Paper Consent Forms Folder Now Available

Coaches can upload scanned/digitized paper consent forms (PDF, PNG, or JPG only) here:

Coaches are required to ensure the completion of these forms for all team members (including adult team members) online prior to arriving at the tournament and should submit the consent report during their on-site registration.  Paper consent forms can be turned in during registration for any participant not included in the online consent report, if necessary. DO NOT PRINT ONLINE CONSENT FORMS> this creates huge amounts of work and it is unnecessary. Showing the screen capture of signed consents list or the Coach verbally confirming all consents were completed online will be adequate. Ultimately the Coaches are responsible for ensuring all consents are completed before student participation in the Qualifier. Teams not in compliance can be reprimanded up to and including loss of participation in the event, awards or advancements.

Qualifying Tournament Selection: For your planning purposes, we anticipate the vast majority of Qualifiers in Illinois will be bunched into two weekends this year: December 7th/8th and December 14th/15th. Please consider this when making plans for your teams. Because the dates will be so limited, we will be asking teams to select 4 Qualifiers they are able to attend (instead of 3 in seasons past). The Illinois Qualifier Event List will become available this July, subject to changes. 

City Shaper Field Mat:  If you have seen pictures of the City Shaper season robot game board you may have noticed that the field looks smaller. Well, that's because it is! The mat for the robot game is shorter this year, but table size is unchanged. Let me repeat that: FIRST LEGO League table size is unchanged even though the mat is shorter. Those who have seen the game and mat have described the mat as feeling more plastic-like than fabric-like in season's past and there is a lot of hope that these new mats will perform better (lay flatter, less friction, etc). We will see!

FIRST LEGO League City Shaper /FIRST RISE 2020 Costume Rules for Teams in Illinois
We understand that in light of the Star Wars content, events and teams may wish to incorporate Star Wars themed costumes this season. We are excited about this fact, but we are also concerned about the physical and mental safety of attendees at our FIRST events. Therefore, we are asking that any gun props be kindly left at home, sorry Storm Troopers! Lightsabers will still be deemed acceptable in light of their inherently obviously safe nature. If individuals plan to attend in full Storm Trooper costume, please be aware that gun type props are not allowed. If a team shows up with such props, they will be asked to place the items in their car.   Thank you for your understanding and adherence to this policy.

Peoria Kickoff and Coach Training August 24th at Lindbergh Middle School 
August 24th Kickoff and Coach Training in Peoria is set. Your team must register and pay the fees before the event at this page to attend.

Northern Illinois Kick-off is on September 7th in Batavia.  Register here.

Chicago Architecture Center learning opportunities for teams during the City Shaper season. Check out the flyer here with lots of details.

Programming Sessions for City Shaper Season
There will be a Programming Basics Webinar to help teams get started with programming their robots!  The online class will be hosted by Matt Birkel and Abhijit Patkar.  Matt participated in FLL in 2005-2007, during which he had the opportunity to compete in the Open European Championships and win the Programming Award.  Abhijit is a coach of the Dunlap Decoders, who won the 2nd Place Champion's Award at Tesla in 2018 and 2016, with a strong performance in the programming category each year.

This introductory class is targeted for people who are completely new to programming LEGO robots, but it is also helpful for veteran teams who are interested in learning more about using basic sensors.  This year, separate sessions will be offered for learning EV3 Programming or Python.  For each class, the only pre-requirements are (1) you have the appropriate programming software installed on your computer, and (2) you have a basic robot with two drive wheels to use for the in-class lab exercises.  The class is targeted towards both coaches and students.

There will be four sessions:

  • EV3 Programming - Wednesday, September 18th from 5-7PM
  • EV3 Programming - Saturday, September 21st from 1-3PM
  • Python - Tuesday, September 24th from 5-7PM
  • Python - Saturday, September 28th from 1-3PM

Please use this form to sign up for a Programming Session

Once you have been assigned a session, Matt and Abhijit will send you more information, including a link to the webinar.

If you have any additional questions, please send them to Matt at and Abhijit at


Table Wall Heights
Illinois plans to use 2.5" nominal wall heights for all State Championship Tournaments this season. Teams attending their local Qualifier may encounter tables with wall heights between 2.5" and 3.5". Your team should design and build a robot for competition that is able to utilize a table with any wall heights specified within the table build instructions. 
FIRST Table Building Instructions

Fundraising 101

FIRST has tools your team can use to raise money. These tools and concepts apply equally no matter what level of FIRST your team is part of. Check them out here:

Two Volunteers Per Team
Faced with unprecedented growth, our organization needs teams to step up their volunteer game this season. We are asking each team to please recruit two adult volunteers to help at either a Qualifier or one of the three State Championship Tournaments this year. We are hoping that one of the 2 volunteers you find will be excited to step up as a new judge or referee (trained volunteer role). We will have additional information about this new ask of teams as the season gets started, so stay tuned! 





Practice Playing Field  

Many tournaments provide access to a practice field where teams take turns running matches with their robot.  If a field is provided, scheduling is often tight, and teams may need to reserve a time slot to practice.  

Practice Table Missions:  The field kits used for the practice table are likely on loan from teams that are attending the qualifier.  In the past it has been our experience that many of the loose mission pieces are lost or misplaced during the qualifiers, and teams are understandably reluctant to provide their field kits.  To reduce the likelihood of losing mission pieces FIRST Illinois Robotics has decided that only the mission pieces that are attached to the tables with Velcro will be provided at the practice tables.  Every team attending a qualifier will have to bring the loose mission pieces to the tournament for their own use at the practice tables.

Bring Loose Mission Models to your tournament to use on the practice tables! Your team must bring all loose mission models from your own team table to use at the practice tables at the tournament. You do not need to bring your entire field. As a matter of fact, most tournament coordinators will not allow you to bring your own field. You will need to use the practice tables provided. But ALL TEAMS NEED TO BRING THEIR LOOSE FIELD ELEMENTS to use on the practice table.


Core Values Poster

No Core Values Posters will be required at any events in Illinois for the City Shaper season.


Engineering Notebook

All teams will receive printed Engineering Notebooks for use during the City Shaper Season. Please do not plan to turn in the Engineering Notebooks during your judging session. The notebooks can be used to demonstrate planning, design, and results during the Robot Design Judging Session, but teams cannot expect judges to review their materials after their session has ended. Teams will only be judged on the material they verbally share during the judging session.



It’s always a great time to sign up to volunteer at the tournament you are getting ready for. Many Coaches, Team Parents, and Mentors can help make their Qualifier great by signing up to help out! Send a message offering to help your Tournament Coordinator if they need it and help demonstrate to our teams how Gracious Professionals are all around us!