Run a Team
Experience FIRST LEGO League Explore!
Teams come in all kinds of flavors.
FIRST LEGO League Explore teams can be based at public, private, or home schools or from community organizations such as scouts or 4H. Any setting will work: large, small, rural, urban, suburban.
Anyone can start a team.
The push to start a team can come from teachers, school admin, parents, students, corporate leaders, scout troops, community partners, FIRST alumni. It just takes one person to get the ball rolling!
We’ll help you succeed.
Your success is our success. We provide many resources to get your team up and running. From funding, planning guides, workshops, to an extensive and supportive FIRST community.
Click on a topic below to learn more!
Learn About FLL Explore
Forges the connection between classroom lessons and real-world application.
Experience STEM fields as future areas of study and career choices.
Work side-by-side with mentors from a variety of backgrounds: education, industry, government.
Get hands-on programming and rapid prototyping experience
Apply the engineering process and learn to find the opportunity in failure.
Gain access to over $80 million in FIRST dedicated college scholarships.
Rise to the top in consideration for college admissions, internships, apprenticeships.
About FIRST LEGO League Explore
What FIRST LEGO League Explore is all about
For children ages 6-10, FIRST LEGO League Explore captures young children's curiosity and directs it toward discovering the wonders of science and technology. This program features a real-world scientific concept to be explored through research, teamwork, construction, and imagination. Guided by adult coaches, teams use LEGO bricks to build a model that moves and develop a Show Me Poster to illustrate their journey.The team’s season culminates in an expo where they celebrate and share the work they have done together with other teams.
What sets FLL Explore apart from other programs
The FIRST Core Values. Students learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and they gain valuable teamwork skills.
The FIRST Progression and $81 million in scholarships. Students can participate in FIRST in K-12 and graduates can apply for college scholarships just for FIRST students.
FIRST and FIRST in Tennessee
There are two entities that work together to grow and support FLL Explore teams.
FIRST HQ provides:
Annual team registration;
FLL Explore storefront to purchase LEGO WeDo sets;
Yearly challenge and Inspire set design.
FIRST in Tennessee, a distributed matrix organization, provides:
Access to FLL Explore programs in Tennessee through multiple FIRST regions that include:
Tennessee Chattanooga (North Georgia);
Tennessee specific information and grants;
More information can be found on the FIRST FLL Explore Team Basics page.
Find an Existing Team or Start Your Own
Finding an existing team
FIRST in Tennessee does not place students on teams, and FIRST privacy policies forbid us from sharing coach contact information. Our role is to assist new teams in forming by connecting them to local resources to help them be successful and sustainable. Many teams in Tennessee are organized through schools and home school co-ops, so contact your child’s school to find out if a team exists and how to join. Some 4-H clubs, scout groups, and youth organizations also have teams. If a team is full, or if there is no team existing, we would be happy to assist you in starting a new team. Grants may be available to pay for your robot kit and registration fee!
You can search the national list of teams at the FIRST site. Enter your zip code in the filter on left menu.
More information can be found on the FIRST FLL Explore Start a Team page.
Register a Team
Create or access your account
Team registration and administration is done through the FIRST account of the individual(s) holding a key role for the team beginning in early May each year. It is accessed via the FIRST website http://www.firstinspires.org/ using the 'Sign Up' or 'Log In' links in the top menu bar.
'Sign Up' for a FIRST Account – This is a “one time” activity for a new user.
'Log In' to an existing FIRST Account – If the user already has a FIRST account, team registration and administration is done by clicking on the “Log In” link.
Register your team at the FIRST site
Teams register for each season at the FIRST website, under the Teams tab. You do not need to know your team members to start registering a team!
Rookie Teams – Choose Create New Team(s). You will receive a temporary team number to identify your team on rookie grant applications until your registration fee is paid. When the fee is paid (either by a you or a grant), you will be assigned a permanent team number to use at events and on future grant applications.
Veteran Teams – Choose your team name from the previous year. Remember that a team’s number and kit of LEGO parts is reusable and retained from year to year. Veteran teams register for the season using their team’s previously assigned team number.
Pay for registration and materials
Rookie teams should purchase the annual team registration (includes the annual challenge 'Inspire Set') and a LEGO WeDO 2.0 set. Veteran teams should only purchase a team registration.
More information can be found on the FIRST FLL Explore Cost & Registration page.
Organize Your Team
Forming Your Team
What is the allowable team size?
The maximum number of students on a FIRST LEGO League Explore team is 6. The small-team concept works well with the platform and encourages a closely knit team where all are engaged. Multiple teams per school/organization are welcomed!
Registering student team members
New Requirement this year: Youth team member registration via our on-line Youth Registration System is required this year in order to participate in all FIRST programs. Links below provide guides to explain Parent/Legal Guardian steps and Lead Coach/Mentor steps that need to take place.
Where do teams meet?
Teams can meet anywhere that is appropriate and safe such as a school, homes of team members, meeting hall, or a sponsor provided location. It is important to set a regular schedule and procedure for team meetings. Things to look for in a meeting site:
Safe work space large enough for the team members and their equipment
Flexible meeting hours
Secure place to store equipment
Work tables and chairs
Share host duties, if possible
Finding Coaches and Mentors
Is one coach/mentor enough?
Every team is required to have two registered adult coaches who have completed the FIRST Youth Protection screening process. Any adult can be a coach – teacher, parent, industry professional, college student. Training sessions, workshops, and a supportive FIRST community are available to help get new coaches/mentors up to speed. The scope of the roles is at the discretion of the coaches.
What is the role of a mentor?
Mentors provide assistance to teams, at one or more meetings, in their particular area of expertise. They provide valuable one-on-one interaction and serve as a resource in their specialty.
Where can we find mentors?
Approach area businesses for in kind donations in the form of mentorship. Parents of team members can take on a mentorship role in support of the team. Ask teachers or other volunteers in your area to help with aspects of your team. Reach out other local FIRST teams; their experience and knowledge base can be a tremendous resource. To connect with a mentor use the FIRST Mentor Network. The FIRST® Mentor Network is an interactive platform allowing teams and interested mentors to easily find each other for virtual (or eventual face-to-face) mentorship. The community platform provides new and returning teams access to passionate, engaged mentors, while giving mentors the opportunity to use their unique skill sets and have meaningful involvement with one or multiple teams.
Do coaches/mentors need to have a technical background?
Coaching a FIRST LEGO League Explore team requires no technical background or experience. The Team Meeting Guide, provided with your Inspire Set, is a great resource which provides a foundation of knowledge and ideas designed to assist mentors in all aspects of the program.
What is the time commitment?
Teams will need to arrive at their own optimum time commitment, but generally teams meet once per week for 1-2 hours per session. Additional meetings are usually planned as competition time approaches. Many mentors report that the “push” to meet more comes from the team members!
Create a Team Budget
What is a typical team budget?
The registration fee is $99 + $15 shipping and includes the team’s Inspire Set and Meeting Guide with six Engineering Notebooks, and the LEGO® Education WeDo is $179.95 + $15 shipping.
How do teams find funding?
Teams are encouraged to take responsibility for their budget. Many teams engage in fundraisers and reach out to area businesses for sponsorship in order to sustain the team.
Have the parents of team members check with their employers as many companies offer grant funds for youth STEM programs where employees are actively involved.
Sponsorship isn’t limited to financial contributions. It can also include mentorship and in kind donations of equipment or work space. This connection between the team and the community is a unique aspect to FIRST.
Recognize team sponsors by including their company name and logo on the robot, pit area, team shirt, social media, etc. Sponsors often visit and volunteer at events; take the opportunity to meet them and say thank you!
2020 Tennessee FLL Explore. Schedule
Mid May- FIRST LEGO League Explore team registration opens for the new season.
August 1- Challenge is released.
August thru-early November- Teams meet to build, research, and program.
October- Register for an expo event.
December thru February- Festival events (see FLL Explore Events page)
Are there learning materials or training available?
Yes! The FIRST HQ site has many helpful resources:
Team Management Resources – many topics
FIRST LEGO League Explore Forum – program information on many topics
Is there curriculum?
The Team Meeting Guide gives week by week instruction for coaches. There are twelve sessions outlined, each planned for a 1-2 hour meeting.
Where do we start?
Start by reading the Meeting Guide and planning your meetings for the season. Open your LEGO® Education WeDo kit and the Inspire set to familiarize yourself with the materials.
Where can teams find help?
The FIRST website has a Resource Library to help teams.
Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition are bedrock tenets of FIRST. Reach out to your local FIRST community; a valuable source for information and support.
FLL Explore Social Networking Sites
Tennessee FLL Explore Events
FLL Explore Festivals
The state of Tennessee is subdivided into three partner regions: Tennessee- East, Tennessee- West, and Tennessee-Chattanooga (North Georgia). A county map of the state showing the three regions can be found on the Tennessee FLL Explore Events page. Each Tennessee FIRST LEGO League Explore team will be able to participate in one Expo. Each team receiving a grant must participate in at least one FIRST in Tennessee official event.
Local Expos: Non-official events; smaller scale; variable format. Teams can participate in as many as they want.
Official Expos: Events held concurrently with official qualifiers and championships under the direction of FIRST in Tennessee regional partners.
Event locations and dates
There will be events across Tennessee. Events are posted on the FLL Explore Events page and the FIRST website. If there is not an event listed in your area, or you would like to add an additional event, please contact Brad Weil for information on hosting an event.
Currently, for FIRST in Tennessee, there are no event fees for FLL Explore teams.
Tennessee Event Registration
For FIRST LEGO League Explore in Tennessee, registration is done at the local level, and not with FIRST. Each event page provides a link to the pre-event information and registration form. The link to the registration form will only be shown when registration is open. It will not show if the event is full, or if registration is closed. After registering for an event, teams will receive their confirmed event placement by email and see their team listed in the event team roster, and not on their FIRST Team Dashboard. Information on event registration is emailed to all registered teams starting in September, and registration occurs in October.