COACHES

Thank you for volunteering your time and energy to coach a First Lego League team!. With your guidance, the children on your team will inspire you, and those around you, in surprising ways. If you have no technical background, don’t be nervous. Let your team do the work. You only need to ask the questions and watch them…GO!

If you’re a new coach, we know this can seem overwhelming. But don’t worry. One of the amazing things about participating in FLL is that you’re now a part of our community. Your team is one of over 67 000 teams in over 110 countries! If you need some advice, feel free to contact the ?????  to get connected.

FLL is more of a celebration than a “competition”. Coaches help other coaches. Teams help other teams. We want everyone who participates – team members, coaches or event volunteers – to have a fulfilling experience. That’s the reason we built FLL upon a set of CORE VALUES.

Make sure we have your correct email address so you can receive any important info/updates from us. We also have a Coaches WhatsApp-group – send your info to ?????????@firstsa.org, so that we can invite you to the group. Email blasts are the main way in which we’ll communicate with you.???

How does it work

A new and exciting challenge based on a real-world problem, is release every year, in the first week of August.

Teams can have up to 10 team members, although we recommend at least 4-6.  For 2 learners it’s just to much work, but on the other hand, with 10 learners in a team it is really difficult to keep them all equally engaged, at all times. 

Learners in First Lego League Challenge teams, must  (on the 1st of January of the year they want to participate) be between ages 9 and 16 years old . 

Keep in mind that children can only be on one team, but a coach is allowed to coach multiple teams.

Materials needed

Equipment needed by every team:

  •  

Equipment that may be shared by more than 1 team:

  • Challenge Set
  • Game table
  • Meeting space/room

 Lego EV3 Mindstorm Robot set or Lego Education Spike Prime Robot set. 

New teams can decide which one of these two sets they want to use. 

Both of these sets, can be purchase in 2 boxes: Core set and the Expansion set.  Teams with limited funds, can buy only the Core set, they will be able to do a FLL season with that, although they will have limited extra parts and will perhaps need to buy an extra sensor.

Both sets can be purchase from SA Lego Education Retailer:  Hands On Technologies  –  For more info contact  – www.handsontech.co.za

Laptop or Computer 

Challenge sets

If you have multiple teams, they can share one Challenge Set or they can each have their own. It’s up to you!

 The MINDSTORMS Robot Set or Spike Prime, can be reused each year, so you only have to buy that once.       NB.  Every team will need their own Robot Set.

Every year the Challenge theme changes, so you will need to buy  a new Challenge Set each year. 

You will need a meeting space that has room to set up the 1.2m x 2.5m playing field and a computer/laptop with internet access.

Robot Game

The Field Setup Kit is the playing field for the Robot Game. Depending on when you register, you could receive your kit as early as July. As soon as you receive it, you can begin putting it together with your team, which is a great “team building” exercise, but you won’t know what the actual game is until the Challenge is released on September 3rd. To even the playing field, so to speak, all teams are granted access to the Challenge at the same time. Some Operational Partners host events to celebrate the release of the Challenge in their regions. Contact your Operational Partner for more information.

TIPS:

  • If your Field Setup Kit is missing any pieces, please refer to page 115 of the Coaches’ Handbook.
  • Having trouble finding the instructions to build the Field Setup Kit? They’re contained on the CD that comes with it!

Project

You also won’t find out what the Project is until the Challenge is released in September. But what do you know? You know what the theme for the upcoming Challenge is! You can begin researching that theme with your team, so they are ready to program their Robot and design their Project once the Challenge is released.

TIPS:

Local Tournaments

If your team chooses to participate in a local event or official tournament, you’ll only have until that event to complete both parts of the Challenge (Robot Game and Project). They’ll feel a time crunch just like in the real world! Events are great opportunities for teams to interact with and learn from each other, whether it’s the first year they’ve participated or the third.

Local events follow their own structure. At officially-sanctioned FLL tournaments, teams are judged on their Project Presentation, Core Values, and Robot Design, which is the strategy they used in programming their Robot. Teams will also compete in three rounds of the Robot Game, plus one practice round. Only their best score that day counts! 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.”

TIP: If you are attending an official tournament, make sure you have a signed parental consent form for each member of your team and a completed team intro form.

What do I do once the Challenge is released in August?

Your team needs to carefully read all the documents that pertain to the Robot Game and Project. They are only available on our website! To get a sense of what these look like, you can see past Challenge documents here. You will need to download one document which explains the Project, plus some optional resources, but the Robot Game has a few components:

  • Missions
  • Rules
  • Game Rulings

The Missions and Rules are what your team needs to begin strategizing how to play the Robot Game. The Game Rulings are updated continually throughout the season to clarify questions we’ve received from other teams. It is important that you keep up with these rulings as they could affect how your team programs their robot.

TIP: Make one member of your team responsible for checking the Game Rulings and have him/her check the page at the beginning of every meeting.

What can I do with my team before the Challenge is released? 

  • Create a team identity – name, logo, team shirts, mascot
  • Fundraise or apply for grants – to pay for team shirts, any tournament fees, registration fee, etc.
  • Learn how to use the EV3 MINDSTORMS Robot Set and software
  • Put together the Field Setup Kit
  • Begin researching the Challenge theme
  • Learn the FLL Core Values
  • Host a FLL Explore event or mentor a FLL Explore Team
  • Learn about the FTC programs for high school students.
  • Help promote FLL and the FIRST mission,
  • HAVE FUN! (Well, you can have fun AFTER the Challenge is released too.)

How do I explain what I’m doing to others?

Here’s some things that are unique about FLL: Anyone can coach. We really mean it! There’s no technical background needed.

Yearly Challenges are based on “real world” scientific topics like Nanotechnology, energy, transportation, and accessibility. Teams are actually tackling the same issues as today’s scientists and engineers!

Sure, children develop technical skills as a result of participating in FLL. But they also develop those important life and employment skills that will benefit them no matter which career path they choose. Brandeis University studies have shown that children who participate in FLL learn critical thinking, time management, collaboration, and how to communicate effectively, all while becoming more self confident.

Many children become interested in a career path related to one of the Challenge themes, in addition to sparking their interest in becoming the next generation of scientists and engineers. Teams also raise funds (Development), create a team name and identity (Marketing), and promote their activities (Advertising).

Teams can choose to participate in official tournaments, which are organized by our amazing volunteer network of Operational Partners around the globe, or in local events, which are organized by their community. These events are celebrations of their accomplishments, both technically and personally.

Team activities are guided by a set of Core Values, including: We do the work to find the solutions with guidance from our Coaches and Mentors.

Operational Partners

Operational Partners are amazing people who VOLUNTEER to run the FLL program in a specific region. Please contact the Operational Partner in your area with any questions pertaining to official Tournaments and to be connected to a veteran coach. And please thank your Operational Partner for all they do!

Good luck!

Thank you again, for coaching an FLL team. At the end of the season, we will send you a survey to gather feedback on your experience. We truly listen to what you have to say