FIRST Lego League (FLL)
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a robotic competition developed for middle school age students. The FLL theme is different each year and is drawn from real events in society. There are three primary activities: 1) Build and program a small robot to accomplish challenges, 2) investigate a research topic then prepare a presentation and 3) build a team around the FLL Core Values. All of these activities culminate in a competition with other teams at a regional tournament.
Robot challenges are the most visible aspect of the competition. Robots are built and programmed to perform different tasks on a 4'x8' printed vinyl playing mat. The robot interacts with specialized LEGO parts that represent the tasks. Each year the playing mat and LEGO parts change to support the annual theme. The basic robot parts and competition table are reusable every year. The mat and challenge parts are NOT reused but are great for off-season games and practice.
An equally important aspect of the competition is the research topic. Like the robotic challenges, the research topic has some connection with the overall FLL theme. Students are given basic guidance then encouraged to create a solution for the research challenge. They research the topic, propose a solution, then develop a presentation that summarizes and defends their conclusions.
Everything comes together at a Regional Tournament. The team meets with judges three times: for a technical review of their robot, to present their research, and to demonstrate how the team learned Core Values. All teams are assessed on Core Values behavior throughout the competition. Each team also attempts the robots challenge tasks at least three times on the competition tables.
The Regional Tournament provides an exciting opportunity for teams to learn from each other and share their excitement rather than a "winner takes all" competition. Teams advance to the Washington State Championships based on overall performance at the competition.
Washington State hosts regional competitions that feed two Championships, one in Eastern Washington and the other in Western Washington.