The cost to participate ranges from $1,400 for new teams to $850 for returning teams. Your costs may be lower if you are able to get some items donated.
One of the major purchases is a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Robotics Kit. This kit provides a small programmable LEGO EV3 computer, and enough motors and parts to make a machine. If your team already has access to a kit, you can use that kit and not purchase a new one. Returning teams are able to reuse the kit each year.
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.
Who can mentor a FIRST® LEGO® League team?
Mentors are high school students or adults who provide technical assistance and guidance to a team. Often a single person fills both the coach and mentor roles. Sometimes a single person coaches several teams while each team has their own mentor. Sometimes it is reversed. Mentors give FIRST® LEGO® League participants the opportunity to explore scientific principles and practices while working with a positive role model.
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.