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 FLL Judging Rubrics are 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:
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 the World Festival.
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.
Who can start a FIRST® LEGO® League team?
Anyone with an interest in changing lives through STEM can start a team – educators, parents, anyone with the time and motivation. Most teams in Washington are school-based. Others are formed through community organizations such as 4-H, YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, homeschool groups, religious organizations, and even neighborhood groups of friends. If you want to start a school-based team, contact a teacher or administrator to get started. See the minimum requirements here.
Who can coach a FIRST® LEGO® League team?
Teachers, parents, and technology professionals all make excellent coaches. The coach must be 18 years or older and should have the desire to explore side-by-side with students and have good communication, prioritizing, and multitasking skills. The coach’s role is to facilitate instruction and optimize the learning experience of the team members by allowing independent thought. Direct adult involvement or intervention during the problem-solving process is strongly discouraged.
Coaches handle all the operational details: where and when to meet, organizing help for snacks, team costumes, etc. Coaches do not need technical expertise, but expertise but must be willing to acquire some basic knowledge of the programming environment and LEGO® robot building. As leader of a FIRST® LEGO® League registered team, the coach will have access to robot kits, team Challenge kits, software and building instructional manuals from FIRST® LEGO® League.
What kind of practice space does a FIRST® LEGO® League team need?
Teams need enough space to build and test the robot on the FIRST® LEGO® League playing field (contained in the Challenge Kit). The playing field is a 8′ x 4′ mat upon which LEGO® pieces and various elements are arranged to create the Challenge missions.
Additional materials (such as two-by-fours) must be purchased separately to build a border around the playing field. Setup can be as simple as clearing an area on the floor, or your team may opt to build an official FIRST® LEGO® League table (see the Challenge rules for details). Some teams have found it advantageous to share a playing field with other teams in their area.
What kind of computer is needed for a FIRST® LEGO® League team?
Teams must have access to either a Mac or a PC with an internet connection. Internet access and a valid email address are mandatory to maintain contact with FIRST® LEGO® League throughout the Challenge season. The computer is used to develop programs for the team’s robot. Programs are easily downloaded to the programmable LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 robot controller via a USB cable.
If your team attends a local event or state tournament, you will need an on-site computer for the day of the competition. A laptop is best. Robot programs are often modified to accommodate the specific conditions of the tournament setting and to improve robot performance.