FIRST LEGO® League

Welcome to FIRST LEGO League!

Guided by two or more adult coaches, FIRST LEGO League* teams (up to 10 members, grades 4-8) research and develop a solution for a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling or energy. They also must design, build and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS®, and then compete with it on a table-top playing field.

It all adds up to tons of fun while they learn to apply science, technology, engineering and math concepts (STEM), plus a big dose of imagination, to solve a problem. Along their discovery journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications and even presentation skills as they present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges. They also practice the Program’s Core Values, which emphasize discovery, teamwork and good sportsmanship.

An alliance between FIRST and the LEGO® Group

LEARN MORE

What are the basics of the program?

FIRST LEGO League gives elementary and middle school students and their adult coaches the opportunity to work together to research a real-world problem, then create an original solution for that problem, plus design and build a robot using a LEGO® MINDSTORMS®  kit* to accomplish “missions” on a playing field. The theme changes each season, requiring teams to be extraordinarily creative.

FIRST redefines “winning” by rewarding teams for achievements not necessarily gained on the field of play—excellence in design, demonstrated team spirit, Gracious Professionalism®, community outreach and more. Winning is always secondary to the quality of the overall experience.

After a few months of meeting, researching, building and programming, teams travel to a qualifying tournament.  The Kansas City region offers five Qualifiers with up to 40 teams at each.  During the qualifiers, teams visit with judges about their project, their robot and their team and complete a practice round on the robot table. After a high-energy opening ceremony around noon, the official robot games begin.  The day closes with recognition and awards.

Check out our Calendar for our free “How to Start an FLL Team” seminars in August.

How do I get my child on a team?

Any group can create a team: schools, home schools, community groups, churches or just some friends who wish to do something awesome. Technical experience is not required.

In 2018-19, 82 percent of FIRST LEGO League teams in the region were affiliated with an elementary or middle school, with the remaining teams coming from groups of family/friends, homeschool groups or youth organizations.

Because teams are structured in so many ways—from after-school programs to youth groups to parent-run teams—FIRST Kansas City cannot match individual children with existing teams or share team contact information.

We recommend checking with your local school to see if a team exists or if there is interest in starting one and with the high school team from your district. Some other options:

Start your own team; no experience is needed.  Local free seminars offered – see our Calendar.
Volunteer at FIRST events to meet coaches and mentors
Share the FIRST for Educators with your school to encourage formation of new teams
Post on our Facebook Page and ask if coaches have openings

What does it cost?

New teams can expect to budget approximately $1,200 for their first year. Successive years cost approximately $700. Teams can divide costs among members or secure grants and sponsorships.

First year costs include (prices shown from 2018-19 season):

  • Team registration ($300); includes Challenge Set and mat.
  • A robot kit of parts ($469.95).
  • Supplies to build wooden practice table ($75)
  • Snacks, T-shirts, and travel costs  ($200)
  • Qualifier entry fee ($100)
  • NOTE: Teams also need access to a tablet or laptop.

The robot set and table can be used year after year, but fees for team registration and the challenge set apply each season. See additional information from FIRST.

What is the time commitment?

Teams have at least 12 weeks between the challenge release and the season’s first Qualifying Tournament. The coach and team can determine just how much time to dedicate. Some teams work on skill building year-round; others may only meet once or twice a week before their event. Because teamwork is so important, parents should arrange to have their child attend most, if not all, team meetings.

Each team attends a full-day Qualification Tournament for a chance to advance to the Greater Kansas City Regional Championship Tournament, which is also a full-day event. One quarter of the teams participating in qualifiers will advance to the championships.

What is the season timeframe?

FIRST LEGO League opens for registration in May and with the global season concluding in April. (See timeline from FIRST headquarters here.)

Kansas City region qualifiers take place on five Saturdays during November and December.  Each team just attends one. A quarter of the teams who compete in the qualifiers advance to the Kansas City Regional Championship in January.

Teams spend August through October getting ready for the tournaments, typically meeting at least once a week.  Practice opportunities (called rumbles) usually arise in October. Watch this site for details.

Where are teams located?

The Kansas City FIRST LEGO League region includes counties in both Kansas and Missouri. (See the blue section of this map).

Teams are automatically registered for the appropriate region and may not switch regions without written permission from the appropriate FIRST LEGO Partners.

For a look at which public and private schools and youth organizations run teams in the Kansas City area, see this list of 2018-2019 Participating Schools and Organizations (using column labelled FLL).

You also can find FIRST LEGO League teams in Kansas and in Missouri  via www.firstinspires.org. These lists also can be searched by zip code.

Because FIRST LEGO League teams top out at 10 students, one of the easiest ways to place your child on a team is to start your own!

How can schools or youth organizations participate?

Contact us!

Contact us for ideas to help you bring the FIRST LEGO League program to your students. Use the form in the side bar to let us know you’re interested or contact our FIRST LEGO League Partner Chrissy Chandler.

You’ll be surprised how simple and rewarding it is to bring this inspiring program to your school or organization.

START A TEAM

Why should I start a team?

  • You get to pick the participants
  • You get to pick the meeting times and location
  • As coach, you become a role model
  • You get a ring-side seat to observe the creativeness of your team
  • You get to see the world through their eyes

What do I need to start a team?

  • Access to a laptop or tablet for the kids to program. Check system requirements here.
  • One LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robot set (may use NXT or EV3).
  • Access to the current year Challenge Set (may be ordered as part of National Team Registration).
  • Meeting space large enough for the 8×4 foot Challenge Set.
  • Two adult coaches with registered FIRST accounts and screened through the Youth Protection Program.
  • Minimum of two, maximum of 10, children between the ages of 9 to 14.
  • Paid FIRST Team National Registration (National registration does not include the cost to participate in a regional Qualifying Tournament.)

Find more details here.

What skills are needed to start a team?

No special skills are needed! Adults act as team facilitator; the children teach themselves. The students develop skills through trial and error, sharing ideas with one another, and researching the current year’s theme.

Remember: NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED AND YOU ARE NEVER ALONE!

What is the process for registering a new team?

Visit FIRST’s Start a Team information for an overview of the process.

Team registration takes place through the dashboard on the FIRST headquarters website.

One coach registers the team but each coach will need their own FIRST account.

Site coordinators for schools or youth organizations can sign up as a Team Administrator to  register team(s) and then invite coaches to join the team.

Coaches complete the required screening and agree to the Youth Protection Program rules.

Purchaser/coach pays for registration fee and materials ordered.

Once payment is received, an official team number is issued.

Please note:

  • National Registration will close for our region in October.
  • National team registration does not include registration for a Qualification Tournament in our region. (You will register for this separately once dates and details are posted and your are contacted by Chrissy Chandler.)

What grants and team resources are available for starting a team?

KC STEM Alliance does not have ongoing funding for seasonal FIRST LEGO League team grants. However, grant requests to serve under-represented students are considered on a case-by-case basis as Kansas City FIRST works toward the goal of giving every student in our metro the opportunity to participate in the full progression of FIRST programs.

If you have a proposal to start a new team in an under-represented area, contact us using the form on this page or by email. KC STEM Alliance has previously supported FIRST LEGO League teams through Girl Scouts, the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council and YMCA.

FIRST VISTA AmeriCorps members and FIRST Kansas City’s Senior Mentor also can help with team visits, one-on-one assistance and locating resources, both technical and otherwise. Find their contact information here.

Who do I contact for additional support in starting a team?

Complete the “Have a Question or Comment” section of this page and check the “I want to form a team” box or contact our FIRST LEGO League Partner Chrissy Chandler.

Also, two free seminars on “How to Start an FLL Team” are held in August.  See our calendar for more information.

We look forward to helping you!

UPCOMING FIRST LEGO LEAGUE EVENTS

Mon 28
Nov 01

Cow Town ThrowDown

November 1 @ 3:00 am - November 2 @ 5:00 pm
Nov 09

FIRST LEGO League Qualifier #1

November 9 @ 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
Nov 16

FIRST LEGO League Qualifier #2

November 16 @ 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
Nov 23

FIRST LEGO League Qualifier #3

November 23 @ 7:00 am - 5:00 pm