What is FIRST LEGO League?
Building on the knowledge and experience gained through FLL Jr., FIRST LEGO League gives teams of up to 10 members in grades 4 to 8, guided by two or more adult Coaches, the task of researching a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS®, then compete on a table-top playing field.
It all adds up to tons of fun while they learn to apply Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) concepts, plus a big dose of imagination, to solve a problem. Along their journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM. applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges. They also practice the Program’s Core Values, which emphasize discovery, teamwork and good sportsmanship.
Are there Teams in my Area?
Yes! There are over 20 FLL Teams currently operating in and around Ottawa, Ontario. A full list of teams can be found here.
If you would like more information or would like to get in touch with any of these teams, please contact Dave Ellis, Regional Director of FIRST LEGO League in Ontario at email@example.com
Can I Start my Own team?
Yes! You’ll need a few things to get started:
- 2 or more adult Coaches willing and motivated to guide the team through the discovery and competition season (and beyond) – no special technical experience is required
- Up to 10 students ages 9 to 14 willing to put in time and to do any job the team needs to succeed (lots of important jobs available for all skill levels and interests)
- A suitable meeting place, either public or private, that can accommodate a 4 x 8-foot playing field table, and has internet access
- A standard Challenge Set (formerly known as Field Setup Kit) and a common set of rules issued by FIRST and LEGO
- A paid team registration, official team number, and a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot set
- The desire to learn, explore, strategize, build comradery, share ideas and talents, make new friends, be accepted, and HAVE FUN!
To get started, follow FIRST’s Guide to Starting an FLLTeam.
When does FIRST LEGO League happen?
The FIRST LEGO League season challenge information is released in late August. Teams generally form and register from May through October. In the Ottawa area, a Kickoff Event is hosted each year at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School in mid-September, allowing the teams to meet and learn potential strategies they could use when tackling each year’s Challenge. The Project and build season begins after Challenge is released. The season in the National Capital Region all leads up the the Ottawa FLL Qualifying Tournament, which takes place in early-December. A select few will advance to the Ontario Provincial Championship East in mid-January, with successful teams moving on to represent Canada at the FIRST Championship in late-April. There are also many off-season events in which teams can participate, strategize, hone their skills, learn new technology, meet other teams, and have fun!
What is the time commitment?
As a Coach or adult Volunteer, you should be meeting with your team once per week during the build and competition season (September – April). Many mature teams also meet throughout the school year, and some compete in off-season events during the summer. You, your family, and your available free time can decide together how much time you can devote to the program.
Where/When are the Competitions?
Each year, several Qualifying Tournaments are held across Ontario from November to January. The Tournaments closest to Ottawa are:
- Ottawa FLL Qualifying Tournament – Ottawa, ON
- Kingston FLL Qualifying Tournament – Kingston, ON
- North Bay FLL Qualifying Tournament – North Bay, ON
Winners from these tournaments advance to either the East or West Provincial Championships, with the successful teams advancing then to the FIRST Championship in Detroit, Michigan, USA at the end of April.
- FLL Ontario Provincial Championship East – Oshawa, ON
- FLL Ontario Provincial Championship West – Waterloo, ON
- FIRST World Championships – Detroit, MI, USA