FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Robotics Regional Championship brings 48 teams to Kansas City’s Crown Center on Jan. 20

What: More than 350 students in fourth through eighth grades will come together Saturday, Jan. 20, to compete in the FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge Regional Championship in the Crown Center Shops Atrium.

The opening ceremony and team celebration begins at 12:15 p.m. in the Westin’s Century Ballroom B/C. Robot matches will begin immediately afterward (approximately 12:30 p.m.) in the Crown Center Atrium and are free and open to the public. Saturday’s championship will feature 48 teams of elementary and middle school students who advanced from a field of 165 teams through five regional qualifier tournaments in November and December.

With adult coaches to guide them, FLL Challenge teams apply science, engineering and math concepts—plus a big dose of imagination—to develop solutions to real-world challenges. They also design, build and program LEGO-based robots to perform autonomous “missions” on a playing field. Along the way, they develop critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills.

This year’s “Masterpiece” theme asks teams to examine the role science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) plays in the arts as they imagine and innovate new ways to create and communicate art across the globe. Each of the 48 teams will exhibit their projects and share their solutions with a team of judges for a chance to win recognition and awards.

Where: Atrium at Crown Center Shops, 2450 Grand Blvd., KC MO 64108

When: Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024

Schedule of events*

Note to the Media: Photo/interview opportunities with robotics teams (students, parents and/or coaches; and representatives of KC STEM Alliance/KC FIRST will be available).

7:30 a.m. Local robotics teams arrive and unload/set up robotics

9:00 a.m. Practice robot rounds begin (open to the public)

12:15 p.m. FIRST LEGO League Opening Ceremony and Team Celebration

1 p.m. Official robot rounds begin

4:20 p.m. Robot games end

4:50 p.m. Awards and Closing Ceremony

* Times are approximate and subject to change.


“FIRST competitions show kids that with science, technology, engineering and math you can solve real-world problems,” said Christina Chandler, who directs FIRST LEGO League programs for KC STEM Alliance. “The exciting sports-like atmosphere of the tournament allows kids to discover science and technology in a whole new way.”

In addition to competing for a spot at the FIRST World Festival competition in Houston this April, teams can win awards in categories such as teamwork, programming, design, research, innovation and creativity at Saturday’s event. Teams can also earn recognition for fulfilling the core values of FIRST, which include gracious professionalism and “coopertition,” which encourages teams to display unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.

Facilitating FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) programs in the Kansas City region is a primary way KC STEM Alliance brings STEM programming to students outside of the classroom.

“We know it’s important for kids to experience STEM activities in lots of ways, both formally and informally; in school and outside of school,” Chandler said. “We’re helping to nurture the next generation of problem solvers.”

About FIRST®
FIRST® is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. Boosted by a global support system of volunteers, educators, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, and showcase their achievements during annual challenges. An international not-for-profit organization founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Participants and alumni of FIRST programs gain access to education and career discovery opportunities, connections to exclusive scholarships and employers, and a place in the FIRST community for life. Learn more at