Start a FIRST LEGO League Team

FIRST LEGO League gives elementary and middle school students and their adult coaches the opportunity to work and create together to solve a common problem. Challenged to research a real-world problem, then create an original solution for that problem, plus design and build a robot using a LEGO® MINDSTORMS®  kit* within a common set of rules to accomplish “missions” on a playing field, brings out the best in students and adults alike. The theme changes each season, requiring teams to be extraordinarily creative.

FIRST redefines “winning” by rewarding teams for achievements not necessarily gained on the field of play − excellence in design, demonstrated team spirit, Gracious Professionalism®, community outreach, and more are recognized with awards. Winning is always secondary to the quality of the overall experience.

If you would like to start a FIRST LEGO League team in your area, we welcome you and promise to provide you with all the support, ideas, and encouragement you need to succeed!


6 essential steps to starting a FIRST LEGO League team:

1. Learn all about us

Each year in August, FIRST LEGO League releases a new Challenge for teams that focuses on a scientific topic. Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Innovation Project, and the FIRST Core Values:

Innovation Project
Teams are challenged to learn more about the science behind the real-world Challenge theme, then use their creativity to design a solution (or modify an existing solution) to solve the problem.

Robot Game
Teams are required to build and program an autonomous (no remote control) LEGO robot that can perform theme-based “mission” tasks on a table-top playing field. The missions require the robot to navigate, capture, transport, or deliver objects. The more missions completed, the more points teams earn.

Core Values
While teams work on the Innovation Project and Robot Game, they are guided by the FIRST Core Values. This set of values is what makes our program so special. Teams are encouraged to compete like crazy but still respect their teammates, coaches, and even help their “competitors.”  Our most important Core Value is “Have FUN!”

2. Form your team

Recruit up to 10* interested team members ages 9 to 14. Team members must not exceed the maximum age on January 1 of the year the Challenge is released.  Students can only be on one team, but a coach is allowed to coach multiple teams.

* Some coaches may have more than 10 children wanting to join the team. If they are not in a position to form a second team, they must make the difficult decision to select the final 10 members.  We recognize this is not an easy choice. As such, we remind coaches who choose to include more than 10 members to respect all those coaches globally who follow FIRST LEGO League Participation Rules.

In the U.S. and Canada, FIRST LEGO League participants must not be younger than 9 years old or older than 14 as of January 1 of the year the Challenge is released.

Regional FIRST LEGO League Partners may approve exceptions due to special circumstances or needs. A few region-wide exceptions exist; check with your partner to confirm the eligible ages in your region.

3. Register, Pay, and Order Materials

Once you have a team (you do not need all team member names yet), register your team at your national level. Every team needs:

Challenge Set - the practice field for your robot, including an exclusive selection of LEGO bricks, dual lock fasteners, and a roll-out field mat. The Challenge Set changes with the new Challenge every season.

A LEGO MINDSTORMS set to build your robot - if your team already has a robot set, you are not required to buy a new one. 

4. Find support resources

Forming a FIRST LEGO League requires funding. Locate your region’s partner who knows other FIRST teams, participating area schools, and local FIRST-friendly businesses that can help with this. They can help you form an organizational and funding plan.

5. Learn about safety

At FIRST, student safety is always paramount. Every adult must become familiar with our Youth Protection Program. Watch our videos and read our youth protection materials.

6. Review coach/team Resources

Part of the fun is researching the Innovation Project and designing/building your robot. FIRST provides a wealth of information in our Resource Library to help you. Find everything from technical guides, to fundraising ideas, or fun activities for your team. Once the Challenge is released, all the documents you need will be on this website (details of what the team is expected to complete for the season; information about how your team will be judged at a tournament).

Most teams spend about eight (8) weeks preparing for a tournament. Many new teams start by meeting twice a week for one to two hours. See how that works, and then adjust your meeting schedule if you need more or less time. Some teams work on both the Robot Game and the Innovation Project for part of each meeting. Others devote one meeting per week to each part of the Challenge. Work with your team to find the right balance. Understand that your team’s robot and Innovation Project must be ready before you attend a tournament.