SMART x10, from Sophia Academy works on their robot during the FLL Championship.
EOT team building.
An FLL robot.

Getting Started

Starting a FIRST LEGO League Team

Unlike many sports organizations, FIRST LEGO League does not register individual children and place them on teams. Rhode Island School of the Future manages a season of FIRST LEGO League events that teams apply to participate in. You are responsible for forming a team or finding a team for your child to join.

Teams consist of 2-10 members, ages 9-14. You can form a team from any group of interested kids: teams are often formed in classrooms, after-school programs, neighborhood groups, youth organizations, or a group of friends.

Teams need an adult coach. You don’t have to be a scientist or engineer to be a coach! Teachers, parents and technical professionals all make great coaches. The coach’s role is to help the team learn skills in programming and building, and let the team participate in independent learning. Coaches do not directly assist the team in the problem-solving process.

Notes on Team Size

If your FLL team includes more than 10 students, you have several options:

•Some organizations register enough official teams to accommodate all of the children who sign up. Registration is open from May through September.

•Organizations that have limited funds and can’t afford to register multiple teams register only one or two teams with FIRST, but use the field kit for several “club” teams. (The field kit can be shared, however, each team needs an NXT robot kit.) Before the official FLL event, the club hosts an unofficial tournament those with the top robot and projects represent the club at the official FLL RI qualifiers.

•A few organizations welcome all who want to participate and bring a team of 15 or more to the FLL tournament. These teams are welcome to participate in the event, but are ineligible for awards. More info here.

What is the FLL age policy?

Children who turned 15 BEFORE January 1, 2014, are NOT eligible for the 2014-15 FLL World Class season, and need to look into the FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Challenge.

While FIRST suggests a lower age limit of 9, this limit is “soft”—if you, the coach, feels that a younger child is ready for FLL, that’s fine with FIRST and FLL Rhode Island. Keep in mind that the Jr. FIRST LEGO League is an option for students aged 6-9.

 

How Often Do Teams Meet?

How Often do Teams Meet?

Teams meet between 1 and 10 hours a week, during the season, with additional hours added in the 2 weeks prior to a tournament. In general, teams who meet 6-8 hours a week are more competitive for awards. Teams can have a wonderful FLL experience, however, whether they meet a little or a lot, but it’s important for the team to consider how much time they have to prepare when they are setting their goals and expectations for their FIRST LEGO League season.

Starting a FIRST LEGO League Team

Unlike many sports organizations, FIRST LEGO League does not register individual children and place them on teams. FLL operates a season of events that teams apply to participate in. You are responsible for forming a team or finding a team for your child to join.


Teams can consist of 2-10 members, ages 9-14. You can form a team from any group of interested kids: teams are often formed in classrooms, after-school programs, neighborhood groups, youth organizations, or just a group of friends.
Teams need an adult coach. You don’t have to be a scientist or engineer to be a coach! Teachers, parents and technical professionals all make great coaches. The coach’s role is to keep the team motivated and on track. There are many online resources to help the team learn skills in programming and building.  FIRST LEGO League encourages hands-on learning through exploration and inquiry. Coaches do not directly assist the team in the problem-solving process.

Notes on Team Size

If your FLL team includes more than 10 students, you have several options:
•Some organizations register enough official teams to accommodate all of the children who sign up. Registration is open from May through September.
•Organizations with limited funds that can’t afford to register multiple teams often register only one or two teams with FIRST, but use the field kit for several “club” teams. (The field kit can be shared, however, each team, official or not, needs an NXT robot kit.) Before the official FLL event, the club hosts an unofficial tournament those with the top robot and projects represent the organization at the official FLL RI qualifiers.
•A few organizations welcome all who want to participate and bring a team of 15 or more to the FLL tournament. These teams are welcome to participate in the event, but are ineligible for awards. More info here.
Children who turned 15 BEFORE January 1, 2013, are NOT eligible for the 2013-14 FLL Nature's Fury season, and need to look into the FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Challenge.
While FIRST suggests a lower age limit of 9, this limit is “soft”—if you, the coach, feels that a younger child is ready for FLL, that’s fine with FIRST and FLL Rhode Island. Keep in mind that the Jr. FIRST LEGO League is an option for students aged 6-9.

How Often do Teams Meet?

Teams meet between 1 and 10 hours a week, during the season, with additional hours added in the 2 weeks prior to a tournament. In general, teams who meet 6-8 hours a week are more competitive for awards. Teams can have a wonderful FLL experience, however, whether they meet a little or a lot, but it’s important for the team to consider how much time they have to prepare when they are setting their goals and expectations for their FIRST LEGO League season.

Financing a Team

Annually, a team needs about $600-$700 to fund their FLL team:
• $225 FIRST registration
• $75 field kit, ordered when you register your team
• $150 for a qualifying tournament registration  
• $150 for a Championship registration if the team advances, and
• $50-$100 for optional items like craft supplies, snacks and team t-shirts.

New FLL teams have these additional expenses:

• $420 to purchase a LEGO Mindstorms NXT or $500 to purchase the new LEGO EV3 technology. This kit will  be used every year. This is the technology a team uses to build their robot. Teams find that having one robot kit for every 3 or 4 team members helps the team’s practices run efficiently and ensures that everyone gets hands-on time with the robots. • $50-$75 to build an FLL robot game table which can be used year to year to hold the robot game field kit.


NOTE: The $225 fee you pay to FIRST for registration supports the development of the annual challenge and the global operation of US FIRST. It does not include the participation fee for a local tournament. The $150 Qualifier Fee and the $150 State Championship Fee are used to offset the expenses of running the FIRST LEGO League in Rhode Island. While the venues donate the space for our tournaments, FIRST LEGO League Rhode Island (FLL RI) foots the tab for fire and janitorial details, renting a truck to transport over a dozen FLL game tables, field kits and other materials between storage and the venues, table and chair rental, sound systems, and catering a light meal for the over 200 volunteers who make our events happen.


Rhode Island School of the Future (the official name of FLL RI) does not have a paid staff: we receive no direct cash donations from the FIRST international sponsors whose logos are on the robot game mat, and no part of the $225 registration fee you pay to FIRST. The local fees you pay helps run a season of events for FIRST LEGO League Rhode Island.


We understand it can be frustrating to find funding to pay for your team's expenses, the best bet is requesting donations from people in your business and social circle—the pizza place where the team eats, the offices where the team parents' work—car washes and spaghetti suppers can boost the coffers too.


If your team is facing serious financial hardship and has exhausted your ability to raise funds, contact FLL RI. We don’t want teams to miss a tournament because of lack of funds, and will try to work something out so that your team can participate.

Registering a Team

There are two steps to registering as a new FLL team.
Register with FIRST to order your field kit and pay your FIRST registration fee. National team registration opened on May 5, 2014 for the FIRST LEGO League World Class season.

The second step it to register to participate in a Rhode Island Qualifier. Qualifier registration begins in early October 2014. Details on registering your team for a Rhode Island Qualifier will be emailed to teams registered with FIRST at that time.

Finances

Registering a Team

Registering a Team

There are two steps to registering as a new FLL team.

Register with FIRST to order your field kit and pay your FIRST registration fee. National team registration will open in May 2014 for the FIRST LEGO League World Class season and will close sometime around the first week of September, 2014.

The second step it to register to participate in a Rhode Island Qualifier. Qualifier registration begins in early October 2014. Details on registering your team for a Rhode Island Qualifier will be emailed to teams registered with FIRST on September 15, 2014.

Questions?

Email FLL RI with questions about the FIRST LEGO League