FIRST LEGO® League
The Perot Museum is proud to serve as the North Texas affiliate for FIRST LEGO® League — a regional engineering competition that challenges students to use their creativity and technical knowledge to create robots designed to solve real-life problems.
It's a proven winner when it comes to engaging students in math and science! Last season the North Texas region had a whopping 350 teams, and we look forward to serving even more kids in this year's Animal Allies Challenge!
PRESENTED BY LOCKHEED MARTIN
SUPPORTED BY ROCKWELL COLLINS AND EXXONMOBIL
The announcement of the Annual Challenge marks the beginning of several fast and furious weeks of robot design, programming and trial! At the same time, teams also engage in a research project related to the core mission of the Challenge. When the teams compete at the Regional Championship Tournament, judging isn’t based on robot performance alone—the quality of design, outcome of their research project and level of teamwork are all major factors in a winning equation. This year's Challenge is Animal Allies, and details will be released when the season official begins on August 30.
About FIRST LEGO® League
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to foster interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, FIRST inspires young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting, mentor-based programs that build math, science, and technology skills—abilities that, in turn, lead to a more well-rounded life through greater self-confidence, communication, and leadership. This invaluable mission is shared by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. As a research and informal science education institution, we believe that children learn best when they overcome challenges through hands-on learning, project design, and experimentation. It’s an experience that gives them the opportunity to view science as a process, rather than merely an end result. This is why we are proud to support the North Texas Regional Tournament.
FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) is one of four competitive levels designed by FIRST, using LEGO® Mindstorms NXT robotics kids as its platform. Aimed at an international audience of students ages 9 through 14, this competition teaches real-world problem solving through engineering design and teamwork. Beyond the events, FLL also works closely with schools and other youth-based organizations to transform the perception of science and technology—inspiring kids who might not otherwise have found a love for these fields to pursue further studies and career paths in science and technology.
In 2008, the Museum became the Affiliate and Operational Partner for the North Texas Region. The Museum coordinates and oversees all FLL events for the North Texas area. The largest of these events is the Regional Championship Tournament, typically held in January or February of each year.
For answers to FIRST LEGO® League questions and details about the North Texas region, please contact FLL@perotmuseum.org.
Creating an FLL Team
If you’re interested in forming a FLL team, here’s how it works:
FLL teams consist of anywhere from 2 to 10 members, ages 9-14. While most teams are founded by schools, many are also independently run through Boy and Girl Scout troops, science and technology clubs, other outreach organizations or just groups of friends!
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is the Operational Partner for FLL in North Texas. We oversee official FLL events in the region and work to spread the word of FLL. We cannot, however, assist with team creation or management. We recommend the following course of action for anyone interested in getting involved with an FLL team:
- Contact the child’s school and see if they already have an FLL team that has an available spot.
- If the child’s school does not have a team, encourage them to start one.
- Offer to become a team coach. There are great resources for coaches here.
- Need help locating an FLL team in your area? Try FIRST's team-matching system, TeamUp.
Once you have a group of students and a coach, you’re ready to begin the season – all you need to do is register!
To register to compete in official FLL Tournaments, you must first register with FIRST by visiting the FIRST LEGO® League website. Registration takes place each year between May and September.
- Visit the site to start a team.
- Read all of the instructions carefully and click on "registration open" in the gray box.
- Follow the instructions to create an account and begin the registration process. Please note, as of this year, all teams will need to list two coaches/mentors/adult contacts who must pass a background check before registration can be confirmed.
- Once both adults have passed the background check, FIRST will send you instructions for how to order your field set and Mindstorm NXT or EV3 (if you need one—you don't need a new model each year!).
Costs or required items:
- $225 per team: fee to register through FIRST. Registration through FIRST is required to participate in any official local, national, or international events, which may have additional costs.
- $75 + shipping: cost of Field Set-up Kits. These consist of the Lego pieces and field mat that the robots will use in the Robot Game and Robot Design judged session.
- $~250-$1000+: cost of NXT or EV3 robots, depending on source and "bells and whistles." Either robot can be used for competitions.
For information about the season and team development please contact FLL@perotmuseum.org.
FLL Qualifiers Explained
FIRST LEGO® League continues to grow in North Texas! Each season begins with teams registering with FIRST so they can participate in official competitions. The first round of competitions in North Texas are the qualifiers. During December and January, several qualifier competitions are held at schools throughout North Texas. Due to continuing growth of FLL in our region, we will likely have up to twelve first-round qualifiers and two second-round qualifiers in the 2016 season. The top-scoring teams from each qualifier will go on to compete in the second-level qualifiers, and teams advancing from second round qualifiers will advance to the North Texas Regional Championship. Teams must have scored highly in all four scored categories (Robot Game, Project, Robot Design and Core Values) to advance. Each team can only participate in one first-round qualifier, and one second-round super qualifier if they advance.
When Will Qualifiers Be Held?
UPDATES: First-round qualifiers will be held on December 3, December 10, and December 17. Second-round super qualifiers will be January 14, 21, and/or 28.
Where Will Qualifiers Be Held?
We are still confirming more qualifier locations, so stay tuned for location details!
How Do I Register My Team?
To register for a Qualifier, teams must already be registered with FIRST through their headquarters. Qualifier registration will be handled through the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Registration will open in October or November (date TBA). Once registration has opened, coaches will receive instructions on how to register their team for a qualifier.
After coaches receive the instructions and call to register, they will need to have the following information readily available:
- Team number and Team name
- Coach name, email and phone number (we will communicate with you via email)
- A list of your top three Qualifier locations in order of preference. We cannot guarantee a specific location or date. **Teams associated with a school that is hosting a Qualifier CANNOT compete in that school's event!
- Registration payment – payments may be made by credit card, check, or PO. If paying by check or PO, it must be received by the Perot Museum no later than two weeks prior to your Qualifier date. Send checks and PO's to: Perot Museum of Nature and Science, 2201 N. Field St., Dallas, TX 75201 Attn: Reservations
How Much Does a Qualifier Cost?
Qualifier and Championship registration fees are separate from the registration fee paid to FIRST when a coach registers their team. Competition registration fees will be due to the the Perot Museum upon registration for the competitions. Registration fee amounts and instructions for payment will be announced soon.
What Goes on Qualifiers?
Each qualifier is a one-day-long event where teams will demonstrate what they've built, programmed, researched, and learned in four catagories of competition:
- Robot Game matches: Teams will go head-to-head in 2.5 minute matches, completing as many missions as possible with their autonomous robots on special Lego playing fields.
- Robot Design judging sessions: Teams will demonstrate how and why they designed, built, and programmed their robots the way they did for the robot games.
- Project judging sessions: Teams will present the research project they have been working on since the Challenge was released in August. This year's theme is World Class, challenging students to come up with innovative solutions using science and technology to improve the learning process.
- Core Values Judging Sessions: Teams will be given a surprise challenge designed to demonstrate their team work skills, cooperation, creativity, and Gracious Professionalism.
* All Judged Sessions (Robot Design, Project, and Core Values) are 10 minutes long, including set-up, presention for the judges, and questions-and-answer with the judges.
Teams who score highly in the Robot Game matches AND rank highly in ALL judged categories will be eligible to advance to second-round super qualifiers and/or the Regional Championship.
Spectators are welcome to cheer on their teams at all qualifier events! More details will be released soon!
What If My Team Isn't Ready In December?
Participate anyway! With the addition of more Qualifiers to the North Texas FLL season schedule, students will have a few less weeks to prepare their robot before competing. Every year a few weeks before the competition, emails and phone calls start appearing that teams are behind and probably won't make it to the tournament. Please read the following important observations we have made over the years before deciding not to attend:
- Odds are your team is no less prepared than any of the other teams.
A few teams are probably done with their robot by now, but the overwhelming majority of teams still have a pile of LEGOs and a bunch of disorganized children who are having a hard time making decisions. Sound like you? Congrats, you are right on schedule!
- Completing the season is far more important than scoring well.
FLL was designed to challenge students of all abilities and stimulate their problem solving skills. The learning process is just as important as the destination. Remember, this is a game of golf, not football. You are playing the course, not the other teams. It may be the case that your score isn't the highest, and indeed someone will have the lowest score. Part of the learning process is finishing the project presentation, making last minute tradeoffs on the robot design, and coming together as a team to complete the task. From our perspective, letting the students off the hook because they didn't manage their time effectively is the wrong approach and the wrong message.
- The deadline provides them an opportunity to learn that at some point they must make decisions, finalize plans, and act.
It is a chance for them to realize that this is THEIR team, and THEY need to finish up in a timely way. We, as the FLL Regional Partner, really don't care that much about the robot. We do care about the process. We care that your students have had to come together as a team, work on a problem, and come up with a result. The process is a learning experience, especially for students who have not done this before. It is quite natural for the students to get behind schedule near the end. To help motivate your team, take an opportunity at your next meeting to point out the amount of time left, and work with your students to come up with a concrete plan on how to finish. This is a great opportunity for the students to learn about compromise. They will need to simplify and prioritize. They CAN do this. They just need your guidance to get it done.
FLL Coaching Resources
Welcome new and returning coaches! The 2015 FLL season is up and running, good luck to all our north Texas teams!
Team registration is open on FLL's website until late September-early or mid October. The first step to participating is to register through FIRST Headquarters. To register a team through FIRST, coaches will now have to pass a background check before they can register a team. Team registration is $225 dollars, and the field kits needed to participate are $75. You can find all the information you need, plus links to the registration websites, at www.firstlegoleague.org.
The 2015 season officially began on August 25 when FIRST released the details of this year's Challenge, Trash Trek. Teams will come up with innovative solutions to the real-world problem of increasing trash on our planet, using science and technology, and will build and program LEGO Mindstorms robots to complete missions on a specialized LEGO playing field.
We have lots of exciting events scheduled for this season, and we want to all of the teams participate in an as many as possible! Here is the schedule of events so far:
Coach Kickoffs and Team Dynamics Clinic
- September 19, 1:00-4:00
Fellowship Christian Academy
1821 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236
- September 26, 9:00-1:00
University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell Rd., Richardson, TX 75208
room SLC 1.102
Coach Clinics at UME Preparatory Academy
- September 26, 9:00-12:00
Nomenclature and Geometry of LEGO Mindstorms
- October 10, 9:00-12:00
Chassis Building and Attachments
- October 24, 8:30-12:00 (beginning); 1:00-5:00 (advanced)
FLL Programming with Patrick Michaud
- November 14, 9:00-11:00
FLL Tournament Overview
Coach Clinics at the University of Texas at Dallas
- October 10, 1:00-4:00
Chassis Building and Attachments
- October 17, 9:00-12:00 (beginning); 1:00-4:00 (advanced)
FLL Programming with Patrick Michaud
- October 31, time and location to be announced, FOR DISD TEAMS ONLY!
- November 7, time to be announced
Fellowship Christian Academy
1821 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236
- Additional dates and locations to be announced.
Official Regional Qualifiers
- Fellowship Christian Academy
1821 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236
- Parish Episcopal School and Community Center
4101 Sigma Rd., Dallas, TX 75244
- Additional locations to be announced.
- UME Preparatory Academy
3838 Spur 408, Dallas, TX 75232
- Advanced Technology Complex
1504 Long Rd., Denton, TX 76207
- Trinity High School
500 N. Industrial Blvd., Euless, TX 76039
- Nolan Catholic High School
4501 Bridge St., Fort Worth, TX 76103
- Chapel Hill Academy
4640 Sycamore School Rd., Fort Worth, TX 76133
For answers to burning FLL questions and details about the North Texas region, please contact Shannon Page at FLL@perotmuseum.org.
Consent and Release Form
FIRST LEGO® League requires all team members, coaches and anyone else associated with your team to sign an FLL Consent and Release form before being allowed to compete at an event. It is also recommended that you bring with you a team roster to ensure that you have all of the forms for all of the members of your team.
Click here to download the 2012 FLL Consent and Release Agreement.
In order to make the North Texas Regional FIRST LEGO® League Tournament a success, we will need more than 100 volunteers to help with a myriad of essential tasks. Included below is a breakdown of volunteer types along with the approximate number of hours of commitment, most of which take place February 6 at the Championship (some positions require a training session in November, December, or January). Volunteering for FLL events is an extremely fun and rewarding way to see the hard work, dedication, and humor that teams put into their robots, projects, and Core Values over the last several months. events are fast-paced, exciting, and fun, and there's a role for just about anyone!
Volunteers for FLL are required to register in the FIRST Volunteer Information and Matching System (VIMS). As our local events are added to VIMS, potential volunteers can sign up for specific events and roles. If you are interested in volunteering for FLL, please contact Shannon Page at FLL@perotmuseum.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
|Volunteer Type||Number Needed||Hours of Commitment||Days of Commitment|
|Tournament judge||35||14||2 (training and event)|
|Tournament referee||16||14||2 (training and event)|
|Competition Assistants and Judging Assistants||85||14||2 (training and event)|
|Tournament setup||15||4||1 (day prior to event)|
|Tournament strike||15||4||1 (day of event)|
To learn more about volunteering with FLL, please download: FLL FAQs
To learn more about specific categories of volunteers, please download: FLL Volunteer Roles
Dates and times of judge, referee and general volunteer training sessions will be announced after the season has started.
Qualifier events need volunteers, too!
Seven qualifying tournaments will be held the first two Saturdays in December. These events are smaller than the Championship, but require similar volunteer roles. If you are interested in volunteering for a Qualifier, please contact Shannon Page at FLL.perotmuseum.org. Points of contact for Qualifier hosts include the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Dallas, Jesuit Preparatory School in Dallas, Parish Episcopal School in Dallas, Harmony School of Innovation in Fort Worth, UME Preparatory Academy in Dallas, and Fellowship Christian Academy. Judge and Referee volunteers for Qualifiers must attend a training session. Find more information on Qualifying events.
North Texas Championship Tournament
The FIRST LEGO® League Annual Regional Championship Tournament is a high-energy event held each winter to close the FLL season. Top scoring teams from each of the Qualifying tournaments are invited to participate in the region's highest level of competition. Teams showcase their science and technology skills as well as their ability to work as a team, address real-world problems and propose innovative solutions.
The public is invited to view the exciting Robot Games portion of the tournament where teams show off the robots they built and programmed, as they go head-to-head to complete missions on a specialized playing field. Behind the scenes, teams present their Projects, Robot Designs, and Core Values demonstrations to judges. The format for the Championship is the same as for the Qualifiers (see "Qualifiers Explained" above).
7th Annual Regional Championship Tournament
The 7th Annual North Texas Regional Championship Tournament was held Saturday, February 6, at Parish Episcopal School and Community Center in Dallas. 62 amazing teams that advanced from qualifiers showed off their Robot Designs, Trash Trek Projects, and Core Values in front of judges and competed in four wild rounds of Robot Game Matches! Lots of prizes were given out, but here are the top winning teams:
1st Place Champions: The Boys, Team 101, from Fort Worth
2nd Place Champions: Robot Wranglers, Team 141, from Coppell
3rd Place Champions: Team Mindcraft, Team 2006, from Mansfield.
Our local Championship teams went on to compete at national and international competitions. The Boys attended World Festival with over 105 FLL teams from 30 different countries, where they won 3rd Place Mechanical Design! The Robot Wranglers will compete in May at the North American Open Invitational at LEGOLand California, and Team Mindcraft will compete at the Razorback Open in Arkansas. Congratulations to all our North Texas teams!
If you are interested in volunteering or exhibiting at the next Championship, please see "FLL Volunteers" above.