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Registration FAQ

FIRST LEGO League Frequently Asked Questions

Introduction

I have been organizing teams since 1999 and have received many emails with the same questions in them.  I am posting the answers here so that you can read them before taking the trouble of emailing your questions to me. This Frequently Asked Questions page has not been updated since 2004. Most of the information is still valid though.

Frequently Asked Questions - Registration

  • My child is very interested in joining a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team.  What do I need to do to get them on a team?

  • The best way to get your child on a team is to read and follow the sign up information at http://www.LosAltosRobotics.org:8080/Main/FLL
Be sure to register online and send in the player and parent contract by September 3rd, 2005.  It would also probably enrich your child's experience in FIRST LEGO League if you checked around and got some of their friends to join in too.  The role of Los Altos Robotics is to help people organize into teams and to organize the scrimmage and local competition events.  There is only a program if volunteers come forward to make it happen.  If you have question, please call (650) 965-8037
  • Where Can I find out more information?

  • I have created a website that has most of what I know about FLL teams and starting FLL teams at http://www.LosAltosRobotics.org:8080/Main/FLL.  This includes a description of the program, team organization information, time commitments, and cost information.
     
  • What time are the meetings?  My child attends soccer, music lessons, and Scouts so I want to make sure there is not a conflict before I sign him up.

  • Once teams are formed, they select a coach and then the coach and team set the meeting times.  In short, you will only know the meeting times once you and the rest of the team work out meeting times.  When you register, include a note telling your schedule conflicts. 
     
  • My son is interested in signing up for a team. However we notice that on the day of the competition, we will be out of the country. Does that preclude him from participating in a team?

  • This happens every year.  It is always nice to be able to attend all of the meetings and competitions but in the end, the children learn a lot and have a lot of fun by attending and participating in most of the meetings and competitions.  Missing a few meetings and the competition is not a problem.  Your son will likely still have a great experience if he chooses to participate and be an active member.
     
  • I just found out about the opportunity to join a team.  Can I get more time to send in my information?  Or, it is after the deadline, can I still sign up?

  • The middle of September is about the lastest for registering a team and the national FLL site and getting the Challenge materials by the end of September. While they are waiting, they can use the time to build the built-in training labs that come with the robot kits. This way, they will learn about building and programming their robot sets.
     

Frequently Asked Questions - Team Formation

  • What is the time commitment for the children and parents?

  • The time for the teams to meet will be decided by the team leader.  I anticipate that 4 to 6 hours per week should be enough to have fun and have a robot compete successfully in a competition event.  Each team will need one to two parents to coach and be at all meetings.  Multiple coaches can trade off to share the responsibility and fun.  It is expected that coaches will guide the children and help them make progress.  The goal is that the children should do the robot construction and programming.  We met Friday afternoons right after school and Sunday afternoons for 2.5 hours in the 2000 season.  The children loved it and looked forward to attending.
     
  • My child wants to participate, but I don't know anything about robotics or programming.  How can I help?

  • If everyone helps a least some, this will be more fun for everyone.  You can help out by helping with organizing the groups, planning and helping with the local contests, making awards, judging, building the contest 8' X 8' playing field, and a variety of other tasks.  All help will be greatly appreciated.
     
  • My 4th grader is 9 years old and the age range says 9-14, can he participate?

  • We tried having 4th graders on the teams and have found that they spend most of their time playing with the LEGOs.  I ask that they wait until they are in 5th grade to join a team.  However, please talk to me if they are extremely talented and motivated and maybe we can find a way that they can participate.
     
  • Why should we consider having two robots?

  • The second one is called a prototyping set. A prototyping set gives you the ability to build another robot to test different designs and programs, without destroying the robot you will be competing with.
     
  • What are the cost details?

  • In 2004, it costs $150 to register a team, $260 for a full robot kit, and about $100 for the playing field ($50 for the FLL kit and about $50 for the construction materials).  Participating in a competition should cost $25 to $100 per team.  T-shirts cost about $25 for each team member.  Add to this 6% shipping and your local tax rate and you have a rough idea of the cost.  Without the T-shirts, the cost is about $600 for a team to register, have one kit, and participate in a competition.  We divide the cost evenly between the team players.  You can save about $300 per team by using your own LEGO Mindstorms kit and add $300 if you want two kits.
     
  • What is a good team size?

  • I tell people that
    • 4 is best (2 sub-teams of 2 each)
    • 2 is not a team
    • 3 is barely a team and 4 would be much much better
    • 6 is second best (3 sub-teams of 2 each)
    • 7 is not as good as 6 because you have an odd number. Maybe think about splitting into a team of 3 and a team of 4. 7 is kind of big.
    • 8 is large and it would be best to split into two teams with optimal number of 4 each.
    • 10 is the official maximum number. Certainly should be split into a team of 4 and a team of 6.
Los Altos FIRST LEGO League Homepage.

Changes Log:

  16 Sep '10   Added team size question and answer. Michael
 4 Aug '07   Updated slightly to make it more current.
27 Aug '04   Added Late sign up question.
25 Aug '04   Added time and missing competition questions.
23 Aug '04 Original Version

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