Start an FLL Jr. Team
Starting a FIRST LEGO League Junior Team
Anyone can start a FIRST LEGO League Junior 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.
If you don't already have a FIRST LEGO League Junior team at your school or organization, the best way to get involved is to form a new team. Your best starting point is the FIRST website's page on Starting a Team. Here are some suggestions to get going:
- Identify one 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 2-6 kids; 3-4 kids is an optimal number for many teams. Team members must be 10 or under on January 1 of the start of each season. FIRST suggests kids be at least 6 years old, but there's no restriction -- a younger child can join a team if you think he or she has the ability and attention span to stay involved. An individual child can be on multiple Jr.FLL teams per season.
- Register the team with FIRST. Registration opens in August and runs through April. You can start a team at any time. Once you register, you can download coach's material which will guide you through the project and offer suggestions on how to run your team.
- Select a meeting place and facilitate regular meetings. Jr.FLL teams can meet anywhere; all it takes is a place to talk, work on the "Show Me" poster, and build your LEGO model. Teams typically meet once per week for one-to-two hours for 6-10 weeks. We encourage you to try to have at least one interview or field trip to a professional in the Challenge field.
- Register for a Maryland Jr.FLL Expo. Maryland FIRST encourages multiple Jr.FLL Expos around the state throughout the Jr.FLL season. Check here for our Maryland schedule.
You can start a Jr.FLL team for as little as the $75 registration fee. If you already have an extensive collection of LEGOs and poster board material, that may be all you need for the CREATURE CRAZE season. For most teams, FIRST recommends a a WeDo 2.0 set that includes nearly 1,000 LEGO pieces, a motor, battery, and additional instructional material to help get started. As your team returns for multiple seasons, you can reuse the WeDo Kit to introduce basic robotics and programming, paving the way for success in the FIRST LEGO League. You also have the option of designing team t-shirts and other branding material. Note that the WeDo 2.0 kit is optional for the CREATURE CRAZE season but will be mandatory in subsequent seasons.
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 Jr.FLL is to decide what methods work best for your team.