FIRST LEGO League is an exciting alliance between FIRST and the LEGO® Group. It’s a robotics program for 9 to 16 year olds (9 to 14 in US/CAN/MEX), which is designed to get children excited about science and technology — and teach them valuable employment and life skills. Teams of up to 10 kids program an autonomous robot (using a LEGO MINDSTORMS® robot set) to score points on a thematic playing surface, create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their Project, all while guided by the FIRST LEGO League Core Values. These three elements – the Robot Game, Project, and Core Values – make up what we call our yearly Challenge.
FIRST LEGO League combines the engineering challenge of a robotics competition with real-world problem solving and inventing. Team members learn science and technology skills and valuable employment and life skills at the same time. The Core Values are the cornerstones of the FIRST LEGO League program. They are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FIRST LEGO League from other programs of its kind. By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.
The FIRST Core Values
We express the FIRST® philosophies of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® through our Core Values:
- Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
- Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
- Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
- Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
- Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
- Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!
How does it work?
Each year, FIRST LEGO League releases the Challenge in early August. Teams may start to meet before then, but the Challenge release day is when teams learn the details of this year’s Challenge and really start working. Teams usually meet one or two times per week for eight weeks. How long your team meets may depend on many factors such as when your team plans to attend a tournament. Tournament dates vary from region to region, so your coach will need to check the schedule. Your team’s coach may adjust the number and length of the meetings as needed. Check with the coach if you have any questions about the meeting schedule.
Many teams spend time at each meeting working on all three parts of the FIRST LEGO League experience: the Core Values, the Robot Game, and the Project. Some teams choose to divide into sub-teams so that different groups are working on different tasks. Throughout the season, your child might work with teammates on tasks such as:
- Building a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot and attachments
- Programming the robot to move on its own and perform missions
- Learning about engineering and physics concepts (sometimes learning them the hard way)
- Testing different designs and making adjustments
- Learning about the Challenge theme
- Choosing a real-world problem to research
- Inventing a solution to the problem the team chose
- Presenting the team’s solution to other people
Your commitment to your child’s involvement in FIRST LEGO League is crucial to his or her success in the program. FIRST LEGO League is a journey of self-discovery for everyone involved: team members, coaches, parents, and volunteers. Please consider mentoring your son or daughter’s team in your area of expertise, planning fundraisers, or providing a place for the team to meet. You’ll be glad you did! Alongside adult Mentors, teams solve problems using engineering concepts, presentation techniques, and robots. Everyone learns skills they can use for life, including respect, professionalism, teamwork, leadership, creativity, and spirit.