Anyone can start a FIRST LEGO League team. Teams may be made up of neighborhood groups, school groups, home school organizations, Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, family members, and after school programs.
Please read all this information. Then, if you you would like someone to contact you to answer questions please use our contact form: https://marylandfll.org/contact/
Some teams and organizations in Maryland welcome new members. To connect with one of these teams, please Contact Us and include the team or organization of interest in the Comment field. We will forward your interest to the team and they can contact you. If you’d like to add your team or organization to our listing, please contact us.
If you don’t already have a FIRST LEGO League team at your school or organization, your best starting point is the FIRST website’s page on Starting a Team. You can review material on preparing for a season, including the Coach’s Manual excerpts and teleconference for new coaches. For many teams, this has all the information they need. https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/start-a-team
Here are some suggestions to get going:
- Identify two or more adults (18 or older) as coaches/mentors. An adult can coach multiple teams. Coaches don’t need robot or technical experience, but do need to be good organizers and facilitators to keep the team on track.
- Recruit 3-10 kids; 4-6 kids is an optimal number for many teams. Team members must be 14 or under on January 1 of the season’s starting year to participate. FLL suggests team members be at least 9 years old, but there’s no restriction — younger children can join a team if you think they have the ability and attention span to stay involved. An individual child can be on only one FLL team per season.
- Register the team with FIRST LEGO League. Registration opens in May and runs through September, but it’s best to register before mid-September to ensure you get the game pieces in a timely manner: https://my.firstinspires.org/AccountManager/Account/Register
- Work on a budget for your team. The FLL Cost and Registration page has detailed information on registration and product costs. See this page on FIRST INSPIRES for cost estimates: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/cost-and-registration
- Select a meeting place and facilitate regular meetings. FLL teams can meet anywhere; the game mat is 8′ x 4′ and it’s easiest to place it on a plywood table. Teams typically meet one or two times per week for up to two hours from September – November, often more frequently as they approach a tournament. The team works not only on designing and programming the robot, but also researching the Project and preparing a 5-minute presentation for the tournament.
- Register for a Maryland FLL Qualifying tournament. Maryland FLL holds multiple Qualifiers around the state in December and January so all teams can attend. Registration opens by early November. Top teams at each Qualifier earn the right to compete at the 72-team Maryland FLL Championship, usually in February.
A general estimate of costs for a new team is $800-1000 (including the reusable robot kit), and $400-500 for returning teams. The variable is the cost of extras such as team buttons, shirts, travel, etc. The FLL Cost and Registration page has detailed information on registration and product costs. When you register a team, you can order a Field Setup Kit which includes the Challenge Mat and Mission Models Set; these typically ship in August-September.
Ideas for covering the costs vary from team to team. Some teams are funded by their school or organization, some find community or business sponsors, some charge for each kid to join, others do local fund-raisers, and some do all of the above. Part of the challenge of FLL is to decide what methods work best for your team.
Registered teams can purchase the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 Base Set which includes an EV3 robot kit, software and additional parts and sensors. If you already have a LEGO MINDSTORMS consumer kit, you can purchase the Education Software and Education Resource Set through LEGO Education. You will need access to a PC or Mac to run the software.
Key Websites to Read
- Main Site: https://www.firstinspires.org
- FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Main Site: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll
- FLL Challenge Site: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/challenge-and-season-info
- FLL Team Basics: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/team-basics
- FLL Start a Team: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/start-a-team
- FLL Cost and Registration: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/cost-and-registration
- FLL Events: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/event-experience
- FLL Global Innovation: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/global-innovation
- FLL Resource Library: https://www.firstinspires.org/resource-library
- FLL Past Challenges: http://www.firstlegoleague.org/past-challenges
- FLL Coache’s Handbook: https://www.firstinspires.org/sites/default/files/uploads/resource_library/fll/into-orbit/first-lego-league-coaches-handbook-20182019.pdf