What is FLL?
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) was launched in 1999 by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) through a partnership with the LEGO Company. FLL presents a hands-on, interactive program that captivates children’s interest in science and technology as they master the dynamics of teamwork and problem solving. Each fall, FLL announces the Challenge highlighting a current scientific or technological problem facing the world. During the Challenge season, teams of up to ten children and an adult coach have approximately 8 weeks to build, program and test their own fully autonomous robot capable of completing various “missions.” Furthermore, the team does a research project that allows members to dive deeper into one particular element of the Challenge problem. Teams can participate in local events and tournaments where they are recognized for excellence in teamwork, problem-solving, creativity, design, strategy and leadership. FLL promotes numerous solutions in a competitive, yet friendly environment as kids discover the rewards of science and technology.
Additional information is available on the FLL web site at http://www.firstlegoleague.org. Each registered team will also receive a copy of the FLL Coach Manual which provides excellent information on organizing a team.
Organization – What do you need?
- Registration – To participate in the program, all teams must register nationally between May 1 and approximately the end of September (changes each year). Registration is conducted on the FLL web site at http://www.firstlegoleague.org
- Coach – Each team needs two coaches and a few other adults willing to help out occasionally. The coach’s role is to facilitate instruction and optimize the learning experience of the team members by allowing independent thought. FLL is all about the kids’ work – coaches are not to do the work but instead help facilitate learning. Coaches do not need technical expertise.
- Team Size – We recommend that an FLL team consist of from 4 to 6 participants. There are several team member roles and responsibilities that provide a basis for creating and managing the team’s time and talent. These roles include building, documentation, marketing, programming, quality control, research, strategic analysis and project management. The maximum team size allowed by FIRST is ten but experience has shown that this is too large for most teams.
- Practice Space – A team must have the space to build and test the robot on the FLL Playing Field (contained in the FLL Field Setup Kit). The playing field is a roll out 8’ X 4’ mat upon which LEGO pieces and various elements are arranged to create the Challenge missions. Your team may opt to build the official FLL Table (detailed instructions are on the http://www.firstlegoleague.org site) or at a minimum have a clean, flat area available that you can setup a border around the field with 2 X 4’s. Some teams have found it advantageous to share access to a playing field with other teams in their area.
- Computer – A team must have access to either a laptop or tablet to develop programs for the team’s EV3 robot.
- Meeting Time – In general, on average 2 meetings per week with a minimum time block of 2 hours is adequate. An occasional Saturday or Sunday is often added for those teams preparing to attend a tournament.
- Tournaments – A great way to celebrate what the team has accomplished is to participate in a tournament. Rookie teams, in particular, have a tendency to not feel “ready” for their first tournament. It is a good idea to remember that a tournament is fun and can be very motivating for the team, even if they did not hit their team’s goals. FRC team Mean Machine hosts a tournament in Camas at Skyridge Middle School in December.
Team Mean Machine has developed a resource library to supply FLL teams with a means of assured material aid. This library works in two cycles: clubs or teams can choose to check out materials from the library for one year, or they can request that the library purchase materials for them, under the agreement that the purchased materials will then be returned to the library at the end of that year for lending to any team the next year.
Moreover, students from Team Mean Machine are available to advise or assist in mentoring FLL teams that request aid. Dependent upon scheduling, students of 2471 can meet up to weekly with teams that request their assistance.
If you would like further information about FLL or would like to receive aid from either our resource library or our students, please contact us below.