STEP 1: Learn about what we do
Each fall, FLL releases a new Challenge for teams that focuses on a different scientific topic. In 2015, the challenge theme is “Trash Trek,” when teams will explore the fascinating world of trash. Teams will discover better ways to manage trash, from collection, to sorting, to smart production and reuse.
Don’t wait until August to get started! Knowing what to expect will help your team hit the ground running. The Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the FLL Core Values.
In the Robot Game, teams will build and program an autonomous (no remote control) LEGO MINDSTORMS® robot to score points by performing mission tasks. These missions will be inspired by the Challenge theme. Missions require the robot to navigate, capture, transport, or deliver objects on a printed mat (the Field). The robot has 2 ½ minutes to complete as many missions as possible.
Through the Project, teams learn more about the science behind the Challenge theme. Teams use their creativity to design a solution (or modify an existing solution) to solve the real-world problem. Since teams know the theme months ahead of time, they can begin exploratory research until the exact details of the Challenge are announced!
Why a Project in a Robotics Competition?
While FLL teams work on the Robot Game and the Project each year, they are guided by the FLL Core Values. The Core Values are part of what makes FLL so special, because kids compete like crazy against the game but still respect their teammates, coaches, and even their “competitors.” Don’t forget, our last (and maybe most important) Core Value is “We have FUN!”
STEP 2: Form your team & register
Team registration is currently open.
You will need to recruit 3 to 10 team members from ages 9 to 14. Team members must not exceed the maximum age on January 1 of the year the Challenge is released. Teams can be based at a school, community organization or just a group of friends.
Some coaches will have more than 10 children wanting to join the team, but the maximum number of team members is 10. This ensures that all team members can fully participate in a great learning experience. Keep in mind that children can only be on one (1) team, but a coach is allowed to coach multiple teams. See FLL Participation Rules.
Once you know that you will have a team (you do not need all team member names) and have a meeting space with room for the 4’ x 8’ playing field and a computer with internet access, you are ready to register your team at the national level. The national team registration process opens in May, through a link on the Arizona FLL home page.
To Prepare for the Season:
- Register your team to participate this season. Registration for 2016 is now open. Register early to secure supplies!
- Adult Coaches/Mentors register to participate in an introductory FLL training session at ASU.
- Check out the resources on the Coach/Mentor Resources tab. These resources were shared by FLL coaches and mentors to support your efforts.
- Review Challenges from past seasons to see what FLL teams have done before
- Review the FLL Participation Rules
- Create a team identity – name, logo, team shirts, mascot
- Fundraise or apply for grants – to pay for team shirts, registration or tournament fees, etc.
- Learn how to use the MINDSTORMS Robot Set and software through online resources or the tutorials included with your FLL Robot Set.
- Check out videos on the web.
- HAVE FUN!
STEP 3: Order your materials
There are three (3) basic items every team needs: Team Registration (which provides you with a copy of the Coaches’ Handbook, some helpful DVDs, and 2 coach pins), a Field Setup Kit (this is the practice field for your robot – it includes an exclusive selection of LEGO bricks, the instructions to assemble your mission models, and a roll-out field), and a LEGO MINDSTORMS set (to build your robot).
If your team already has a LEGO MINDSTORMS set, you are not required to buy the FLL Robot Set. There is no need to purchase a new robot set each year. If the set is well maintained, it will provide years of fun learning opportunities for your team. Your team will need a new Field Setup Kit each year that coincides with the new Challenge theme, but you may share your Field Setup Kit with another team.
STEP 4: Begin working on the Challenge
Once the Challenge is released in late August, you will find the link to all of the documents you will need on this website. These will include details of what the team is expected to complete this season, as well as information about how your team will be judged at a tournament. Then your team can begin working in earnest. Most teams spend about eight (8) weeks preparing for a tournament. Many new teams start by meeting twice a week for one (1) to two (2) hours. See how that works, and then you can adjust your meeting schedule if you need more or less time.
Some teams work on both the Robot Game and the Project for part of each meeting. Others devote one meeting per week to each part of the Challenge. Work with your team to find the right balance. Just remember that you will need to have both your robot and your Project ready before you participate in a tournament.
STEP 5: Register for a qualifying tournament
The tournament day is your deadline to complete the Robot Game and Project. Your team will feel a time crunch just like in the real world! No team ever feels totally prepared for tournament participation, but plan to attend anyway and provide your team with a great learning and sharing experience. Tournaments are great opportunities for teams to interact with and learn from each other, whether this is the first year a team has participated or the sixth.
The Arizona tournament registration process is separate from the national team registration process. The link to Arizona’s regional qualifying tournament registration process will open on the Arizona FLL web site on Challenge Release Day.
Teams will register to compete in ONE regional qualifying tournament. Teams must participate in a regional qualifying tournament in order to advance to the state championship tournament at Arizona State University.
Registration is closed.
STEP 6: Participate in a tournament and celebrate your season
At FLL tournaments, teams are judged on their Project Presentation, Core Values, and Robot Design. Teams will also compete in three rounds of the Robot Game. Teams have the opportunity to win awards in each of these categories, but the FLL Core Values remain the focus. “What we discover is more important than what we win.”
Use this site as your resource for up-to-date information on the Arizona FLL program. Contact the Arizona Operational Partner if you have additional questions or require support for your efforts to get involved in FLL.