7 Steps to join the FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition 2018-2019 Season Into Orbit

FYI this is about the 9-14 year olds competition. For the junior competition (6-10) please see this local info and the official FIRST website info and consider joining the Season Launch event – questions please contact bgolland@firstinspires.org

A bit about FIRST LEGO League

If you haven’t heard of it, FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an amazing robotics competition using LEGO Mindstorms where every year more than 250,00 students all around the world ages 9-16 engage in hands on STEM learning, teamwork and friendly competition (or coopertition as FIRST likes to say). Watch the What is FIRST LEGO League  video for a general intro.

FLL is a transformative experience for many participants and the transferable skills they gain help them go on to do incredible things and explore STEM related careers. We believe FIRST LEGO League is unique among other robotics competitions for the same age group (like VEX IQ) because it emphasizes Core Values of teamwork and involves a research project to solve real world problems.

But big disclaimer, it’s a LOT OF HARD WORK!! Our own team Forces of Atlantis from Norma Rose Point, Vancouver, won the regional championship, did the provincials and got invited to represent Canada at the European Open and had an incredible time, BUT it took a significant time commitment for all team members, a ton of parent volunteer hours, and lots of fundraising bake sales (granted we had to go half way around the world to get there). All that said, it DEFINITELY paid off in the end as an amazing, once in a lifetime learning experience! You can read the team’s journey at their blog and watched the competition videos here!

FIRST LEGO League “Into Orbit” Season – How to Participate

The 2018-2019 season has begun and the theme for this year, “Into Orbit” is all about space exploration! Here are some steps to participate are:

  1. BUILD A TEAM: Find at least 2 and maximum 10 friends ages 6-14 who want to start an FLL team, and two mentors/coaches (can be parents, teachers or volunteers with STEM experience) who are committed to meeting with the team at least once a week (ideally more than once, definitely towards the competition dates)
  2. REGISTER YOUR TEAM: Coaches register the team at http://firstinspires.org and pay FIRST’s $315 USD registration fee (can be split among families, includes the competition mat and field set with all the LEGO pieces). Note that all coaches / mentors must fill out Youth Protection forms, including criminal record checks.
  3. KNOW THE RULES: Review all the documents in the Into Orbit Challenge Updates and Resources page and start working on A) the Robot Missions and B) the Project (this year’s project presentation is on Human Space Travel)
  4. BUILD YOUR ROBOT: Make sure you have at least one Mindstorms EV3 or NXT set, or purchase the home or education edition online (spectrum-nasco has the education version with lithium battery pack for approx $400 CAD). You’ll always need extra pieces!
  5. GO TO EVENTS: To really understand what you’re getting into, and to meet other teams/parents, sign up the team for the Season Launch and FLL Jump Start events described below or check https://firstroboticsbc.org/events/
  6. GET TO REGIONALS: Start practicing for the Regional Tournament on December 1st (more details coming from FIRST Robotics BC)
  7. GET TO PROVINCIALS: Provincial Championships will be in February 2019 in Victoria BC, make sure your team is ready! Check here for official announcement by hosts St Margarets: https://www.stmarg.ca/robotics

Any questions about FIRST LEGO League or FLL Junior or to get help forming a team, please contact BC’s FIRST Senior Mentor, Barish Golland at bgolland@firstinspires.org

Register for FLL/FLLJr Launch and Jump Start Events

FIRST Launch 2019 – Kickoff Event – September 8th, Saturday – 5:00pm to 7:00pm at H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

FLL Jump Start – September 22nd, Saturday – 1:30pm to 4:30pm at Centre for Digital Media Hangar

  • This is for registered teams or for those seriously wanting to form an FLL team
  • Presentations on Robot Missions, Project and Core Values
  • Teams rotate through stations to get hands on experience with this season’s challenge with coaches and mentor volunteers
  • Hands on activities including advanced programming and building tips from previous regional champions
  • Register here: FLL Jump Start Event Registration