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Washington FIRST Robotics

 

Inspiring Students in Washington State

to be Science and Technology Leaders


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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.

FLL: As a Summary

What?

  • FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a robotic competition developed for middle school age students. 
  • Our goals are to inspire students to take an interest in science and technology and begin considering these fields as a career.
  • There are three primary activities:1) Build and program a small robot to accomplish various challenges, 2) Investigate a research topic and present findings at the tournament, and 3) Build a team around FLL Core Values.

Who?

  • FLL Teams are 3-10 kids who are in the age range of 9 to 14 years of age.
  • Teams form in schools, clubs, and neighborhood groups. No requirements on affiliation
  • Teams need at least 1 adult coach/mentor. Two are recommended.

When?

  • Most teams form up in late spring or early September.
  • Registration opens late spring. Registration usually closes mid to late September
  • The challenge is released in early September
  • State regional qualifier competitions happen all over the state beginning in December and usually running through early February. There are two state championships, one in Eastern Washington and the other in Western Washington. The Championships are usually scheduled in February.
  • New coaches and mentors will have several opportunities to attend workshops early in the season.

Where?

  • There are teams in most areas of the state: Puget Sound area, San Juan Islands, Spanaway, Spokane, Tacoma, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Omak, etc.
  • Qualifiers are held around the state. The Eastern Washington Championship is usually East of the Cascade mountains. The Western Washington Championship moves throughout the Puget Sound area.
  • Many teams meet in school classrooms as an after school club. Basements, garages, and just about any other place works great too.

How?

Cost?

  • An FLL team is fairly inexpensive. A typical first year team will spend around $1,000 total to register, build a play field, buy a robot kit and extra parts. Returning teams spend around $500 per year.
  • Teams are funded by schools, PTSA, parents, or other sources of funds. Some find corporate sponsors. There are a limited number of new team grants available for teams with financial needs.

 

 

 

 
 
 

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