FIRST LEGO League Jr. is a program created in a partnership between FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and The LEGO Group. FIRST LEGO League Jr. is a hands-on program for children ages 6 to 9 (grades K-3), designed to inspire them in science and technology. Teams of up to 6 children and an adult coach receive a real world challenge facing today’s scientists. Using an open-ended LEGO building set, teams design and build a model depicting an aspect of the current year’s challenge. Teams generally spend 6-8 weeks exploring, investigating, designing and building their model using LEGO elements and moving parts. In conjunction, teams create a “Show Me” poster that depicts their season’s journey. FIRST LEGO League Jr. also introduces students to life skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, self-confidence and presentation skills.
What does a FIRST LEGO League Jr. season look like?
As with all FIRST programs, FIRST LEGO League Jr. promotes the Core Values of FIRST. The coach guides the team through their season and facilitates the discussion and problem solving along the way. The coach helps the team with the following components of their challenge:
- Learn about it! – Brainstorm the topic, narrow down the research topic, conduct research and understand the information.
- Build it! – Build a LEGO model with one motorized part and one simple machine that represent’s your team’s findings.
- Show it! – Create a Show-Me Poster to document the team’s journey and information such as the topic they chose and what they learned.
- Share it! – Share what you learned with others – parents, teachers, team sponsors, other students, your community, other FIRST teams – anyone! Tell the story, answer questions, sing a song, put on a play, be serious, be funny – find a way to share what the team learned. If you attend a FIRST LEGO League Jr. Event/Expo reviewers will generally visit with teams for about 10 minutes.
|Early August||Registration opens and kit ordering begins|
|Early August||The full challenge is released for registered teams|
|August – May||Teams meet, generally for 6-8 weeks|
|November – May||FIRST LEGO League Jr. Event/Expo Season|
|April||Registration for the year ends|
|April||World Festival Expo – St. Louis (find exact date here)|
Start a Team
Teams are comprised of 2-6 students, ages 6-9, and at least one adult coach. FIRST considers the upper age limit of 9 to be “hard” and the lower limit of 6 to be “soft”. If, after taking in the child’s developmental level, you feel they are capable of participating on a team and interacting with older children, then by all means they’re allowed! As a warning, we have found that children younger than 6 can be overwhelmed by the experience. For students ages 9 to 14, FIRST offers the FIRST LEGO League program.
Other people such as parents, grandparents, older siblings, teachers, community members and even older FIRST team members are encouraged to mentor and/or volunteer with the team. Coaching a team requires no previous knowledge or technical background, only a willingness to learn with the students. The coach facilitates discussions and encourages problem solving. As a team you will have access to the Coaches’ Guide and other resource materials. The Coaches Guide contains sample schedules for the season as well as team building activities to help get started.
Teams may be made up of school groups, after school programs, home school organizations, community groups, neighborhood groups, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, families, etc.
FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams generally meet for 6-8 weeks. Each session should last about one to two hours and teams generally meet once or sometimes twice a week. Team meetings can be held anywhere. Popular locations are at a school, the coach’s home or a neighborhood or community facility.
Join a Team
Students generally do not “join” a team; rather teams are formed around the child. If your child is interested in the program, a good place to start looking for other team members are your child’s friends. Ask other parents in the neighborhood about interest or approach a teacher or the principal at your child’s school with the idea—any adult can start a team.
Although FIRST does not create teams or match students, FIRST does have TeamUp, a matching system for parents, coaches and mentors to connect with others to form teams.
Virginia + Washington, D.C. also offers a FIRST LEGO League Jr. mailing list that can help locate others in your area interested in starting a team or for established teams that may have space for additional team members.
FIRST LEGO League Jr. mailing list/listserv
Our FIRST LEGO League Jr. mailing list/listserv allows people with an interest in the program to keep in touch, find others interested in forming teams, share ideas, and more. This list also provides a way for coaches and mentors to discuss and distribute FIRST LEGO League Jr. questions and suggestions. Finally, administrative program announcements will be distributed to members of this list. Both local area and general FIRST LEGO League Jr. topics are covered, so everyone is welcome.
Join the listserv!
Register a Team
The registration fee is $50.00 per team and includes the following:
- Challenge Guidelines – Model and Show-Me Poster instructions.
- Coaches’ Guide – Best practices for coaches.
- Access to Forums
- Reduced Pricing on LEGO kits
- Team Support – FIRST LEGO League Jr. Program support for registered teams through FIRST
The $75.00 registration fee does not include any team extras such Show-Me Poster supplies, t-shirts or any FIRST LEGO League Jr. Expos or events. The cost for events are paid directly to event organizers.
FIRST LEGO League Jr. Kit Options
You are not required to purchase a specific kit to participate—the team can build their model using any LEGO bricks or elements, but teams are encouraged to purchase the FIRST LEGO League Jr. base kit ($182.95 plus shipping and taxes—team savings of $44.69). This base kit is designed for teams that are just getting started and need essential LEGO® Education materials for building their models. With this configuration, teams are provided an abundance of LEGO components including cams, axles, wheels, gears, beams, and more. The included motor and battery box enable teams to add movement and bring their model to life. Rounding out this year’s offering are the BuildToExpress for Education mini-kits and the new FIRST LEGO League Jr. Guide to Building and More. This new guide written specifically for FIRST LEGO League Jr. will lead coaches through the process of organizing the LEGO components; building two separate models using gears, the motor and the battery box; and using the BuildToExpress activities for team building skills.
There is also a FIRST LEGO League Jr. Robotics Kit that is perfect for returning teams who are eager to add robotics as a component to their FIRST LEGO League Jr. model. The LEGO® Education WeDo system was designed specifically to bring the fun and challenge of robotics to students ages 7 to 11. Team members will build LEGO models featuring working motors and sensors; program their models with colorful, visual software designed just for kids; and explore a series of cross-curricular, theme based activities while developing their skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as language and literacy. The electronic activity pack explores four different themes, allowing team members to become familiar with the product before constructing their FIRST LEGO League Jr. model. This kit is a great transition to the skills needed for FIRST LEGO League. This kit is $175.95 plus shipping and taxes—a savings of $43.95.
Finally there is a new offering, the FIRST LEGO League Jr. Robotics Set with a WeDo Resource Set, to take your FIRST LEGO League Jr. model to the next level. The LEGO® Education WeDo system was designed specifically to bring the fun and challenge of robotics to students ages 7 to 11. The addition of the WeDo Resource Set helps to extend the possibilities for the creative problem-solving needed in FIRST LEGO League Jr. Complete with 325 additional elements that combine with the Construction Set, this pack allows for building models that are more robust and intelligent too! Building instructions and programming examples for four new models that utilize the resource set are available online, allowing team members to become familiar with the product before constructing their FIRST LEGO League Jr. model. This kit also provides a smooth transition to the skills needed in FIRST LEGO League.
FIRST LEGO League Jr. Events/Expos provide teams an opportunity to showcase their accomplishments and share what they have learned during their season with others. Although FIRST and LEGO don’t conduct or oversee local FIRST LEGO League Jr. events, they encourage and provide resources for local teams, parents, coaches or community volunteers to host such events.
Anyone is able to hold an event and tips, suggestions, and “how-to” are offered on the Events info page. Events may be small with just family and friends, or they may be large events with numerous teams in a public venue. No matter the size, FIRST LEGO League Jr. events recognize the contributions of all team members and provide a place for positive sharing, learning, laughing and celebrating a task well done.
Will there be any FIRST LEGO League Jr. events in Virginia or Washington D.C.?
There will be FIRST LEGO League Jr. Events/Expos held in Virginia and Washington D.C. These events may be hosted by FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams and held in conjunction with other FIRST events such as FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge or FIRST Robotics Competition Tournaments, or hosted by community volunteers, etc.
If you are considering hosting an event, please refer to the FIRST LEGO League Jr. website which provides many great resources such as the Event Guide, sample awards, templates for certificates, a link to ordering awards, etc. Anyone wishing to host a FIRST LEGO League Jr. event may do so and we encourage you to invite other teams to participate by sending an email to the Virginia + Washington, D.C. FIRST LEGO League Jr. email list/listserv. You can also post your event on the FIRST website under Virginia or Washington, D.C. FIRST LEGO League Jr. events.
What if I have other questions?
The FIRST website has extensive information on FIRST LEGO League Jr. here.
If you have questions about the challenge or other general questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about the FIRST LEGO League Jr. program in Virginia + Washington, D.C., please send an email to email@example.com or to Sally Sylvester, FIRST Senior Mentor Virginia, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also post questions to the FIRST LEGO League Jr. in Virginia + Washington, D.C. email list.