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.
Teams, coaches and other supporters must demonstrate the Core Values in their actions and
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:
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.
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]
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.
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.
Where can I find more information and resources for this year’s challenge?
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:
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.
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. Also, see the minimum requirements.
What is the size of a FIRST® LEGO® League team?
FLL Teams have two to 10 youth members and two adult coaches. If you have more people wanting to join, the best thing to do is start another team.
Team members are responsible for creating and managing the team. Roles include building, documentation, marketing, programming, quality control, research, strategic analysis, and project management.
I can’t find a team near me. Can I start one?
Absolutely. The easiest way to join a FIRST® LEGO® League program is to start your own team. Ask your principal if your school has a team; if not, encourage your principal to identify a teacher who would be willing to start a team with your help as a team volunteer. Please let your principal know that FIRST® is a collaborative partnership with private industry professionals and educators to inspire young people towards STEM.
If a school-based team is not a possibility, you may find another youth-focused organization that can help. Scouts, 4-H and other clubs may also support FIRST® teams.
What are the payment options?
Invoices for the FIRST® LEGO® season are emailed to the team lead coach or team administrator in October. You may pay by check, purchase order, or credit card. If you pay by credit card, please use the payment link on your emailed invoice.
How old does my child need to be to join a FIRST® LEGO® League team?
The FIRST® LEGO® League program is designed for young people ages 9-14 years old in grades 4-8.
How long is the season?
The FIRST® LEGO® League season opens in October and runs through January, followed by the state championships.
What are the minimum requirements for every FIRST® LEGO® League team?
Each FIRST® LEGO® League team needs:
Two or more adult coaches willing and motivated to guide the team through the discovery and competition season (and beyond) – no special technical experience is required
Up to 10 students ages 9 to 14 willing to put in time and do any job the team needs to succeed (There are lots of important jobs available for all skill levels and interests.)
A suitable meeting place, either public or private, that can accommodate a 4 x 8-foot playing field table, and has internet access
A standard Challenge Set and a common set of rules issued by FIRST® and LEGO®
A paid team registration, official team number, and a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robot set
The desire to learn, explore, strategize, build comradery, share ideas and talents, make new friends, be accepted, and HAVE FUN!
When does FIRST® LEGO® League happen?
Teams generally form and register from May through October.
The FIRST® LEGO® League season Challenge information is released in late August. The project and build season begins after the Challenge is released.
Tournaments begin at the end of November. Tournaments – Qualifier Competitions – determine which teams earn spots at the FIRST® Championship at the end of April
There are also many off-season events in which teams can participate, strategize, hone their skills, learn new technology, meet other teams, and have fun.
What is the time commitment for coaches, volunteers, and team members?
In general, as a coach or volunteer, you should meet with your team two to three times per week during the build and competition season from September through January; April if you make the World Championship. Two hours per meeting is an adequate time commitment. An occasional Saturday or Sunday is often added before the tournament to finish projects and practice.
Many mature teams meet throughout the school year, and some compete in off-season events during the summer. You, your family, and your available free time can determine how much time you devote to the program.
As a youth team member, the same applies. Be prepared to meet once per week from mid-September through January; April if you make the World Championship. Like any sport or club, time you invest in helping your team will add to your team’s success.