FAQ: Challenge
FIRST® LEGO® LEAGUE

What is the FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge?

Each year, FIRST® LEGO® League releases a Challenge, which is based on a real-world scientific topic.

Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the Core Values. Teams of up to ten youth, with at least two adult coaches, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game), developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by the FIRST® Core Values. Teams may then attend an official tournament, hosted by our FIRST® LEGO® League Partners.

Past Challenges have been based on topics such as nanotechnology, climate, quality of life for the handicapped population, and transportation. By designing our Challenges around such topics, participants are exposed to potential career paths within a chosen Challenge topic, in addition to solidifying the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) principles that naturally come from participating in the program. Team members also learn valuable life and employment skills, which will benefit them no matter the career path they choose.

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What are the rules for participating in a FIRST® LEGO® League tournament?

Like other team activities, FIRST® LEGO® League has basic ground rules. Failure to abide by these rules could result in ineligibility for awards at a tournament or other consequences deemed necessary by judges, referees, tournament organizers, FIRST® LEGO® League partners, Headquarters, or their designated representatives.

General Rules
Teams, coaches and other supporters must demonstrate the Core Values in their actions and
activities.

Throughout the season, teams need access to the following materials:

  • LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robot Set
  • Computer or tablet with software to program the robot. (Laptop is recommended.)

Throughout the season, teams need access to the following season-specific materials:

  • Challenge Set
  • Documents from www.firstlegoleague.org/challenge all released at 1 pm EST August 1st of the Challenge season year:
    • Mission Model Build Instructions
    • Field Setup Guide
    • Challenge and Challenge Guide

Competition Rules
A competitive team is one playing in a FIRST® LEGO® League official event. These additional rules apply:

  • A competitive team consists of a minimum of two and a maximum of 10 youth. Proper adult supervision is required as described in the FIRST® Youth Protection Policy.
  • A team must be registered and fully paid in the national registration system to sign up for official events. Additional event fees may apply.
  • Team members are between the minimum and maximum age allowed in their region.
  • All work presented at an official event is the work of the youth on the team.
  • All team members attending an event are required to participate in all three judging sessions and be present as a team at the Robot Game matches.

Awards/Advancement
A competitive team must meet these additional criteria to be eligible for awards and/or advancement at an official event.

  • Teams are at their first official event of each tournament level for the season. For example, teams are only eligible for awards at the first qualifier they compete in each season. [See INTO ORBIT Challenge Guide]
  • Team members’ work must conform to the parameters and rules outlined in the Challenge and Challenge Guide. [See INTO ORBIT Challenge, Updates, & Resources]

Consequences
FIRST® Washington gives authority to volunteers staffing FIRST® LEGO® League official events to interpret and implement the participation rules, guided by global FIRST® LEGO® League training materials.

  • Teams, coaches, and supporters at official events are expected to demonstrate FIRST® Core Values.
  • Individuals interfering with, excessively instructing, prompting, or heckling a team or volunteer may be asked to leave.
  • Severe infractions of these rules may result in a team’s dismissal from the event. FIRST® LEGO® League official event volunteers are provided training to identify and respond to these situations [See FIRST Youth Protection Policy (YPP)].
  • Individuals and/or teams who fail to abide by the participation rules may be ineligible for awards at a tournament.

What is this year’s challenge?

INTO ORBIT Challenge

Join our mission into the 30th season of FIRST®! Prepare for blast off, break out of your earthly constraints and go INTO ORBITISM. The 2018/2019 FIRST® LEGO® League season will transport your team into space, where you’ll explore, challenge, and innovate in the vast expanse of space.

FIRST® LEGO® League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During the INTO ORBIT season, teams will choose and solve a real-world problem in the Project. They will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology to solve a set of missions in the Robot Game. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under the FIRST® signature set of Core Values, celebrating discovery, teamwork, and Gracious Professionalism.

How are teams judged at competitions and what awards are there for FIRST® LEGO® League teams participating?

FIRST® LEGO® League is known around the globe not only for what we do (the Robot Game and Project), but also how we do it, with Core Values at the heart. The rubrics used for judging reflect these three equally important aspects of FIRST® LEGO® League.

Official tournaments must follow the judging and awards structure determined by FIRST® LEGO® League. Although the audience mostly sees teams playing the Robot Game at tournaments, teams are also being judged on:

  • Core Values
  • Project
  • Robot Design

The Core Values Poster and the Robot Design Executive Summary are additional tools that may be used to help facilitate discussion in the Core Values and Robot Design judging sessions at official events. FIRST® Washington will distribute instructions to teams outlining the information to be included if we require the Core Values Poster and/or the Robot Design Executive Summary at our events.

The Core Values Poster and the Robot Design Executive Summary will be used as part of the judging at World Festival.

About Judging

  • Teams must participate in all elements of a FIRST® LEGO® League competition including the Robot Game and all three judged areas in order to be eligible for any Core Award.
  • Judges use the rubrics to help them determine which teams will receive awards.
  • With the exception of the Robot Performance Award, awards are determined by a deliberation process, which is formulated around discussions of team performance in each category.
  • If a team does not exhibit Core Values at a tournament, they may be disqualified from winning any awards – including Robot Performance – no matter how well they scored.
  • Adults are strictly prohibited from directing team members or interfering with the judging process or robot rounds in any way.
  • No team is allowed to win two awards, unless one of the awards is for Robot Performance. Robot Performance is the only category based solely on score.
  • While they may attend other events for fun, teams are only eligible to win awards at the first official event of each qualifying level attended during the season.

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