FIRST LEGO Robotics League (FLL)
Starting in fall 2023, Compass offers a Division 2 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics team, for students in 5th-7th grade (min. age 11 by September 30). Students will learn 21st century skills in robotics and programming while enjoying the camaraderie of working as a team to solve challenges. Students will gain confidence and build skills in leadership and communication as they showcase their team project at local and regional FLL competitions.
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an accessible, guided, beginners’ robotics competition that encourages teamwork, discovery, innovation, and problem-solving. The FLL competition is comprised of three components: the Robot Game, an Innovation Project, and Core Values. The Robot Game is an annual theme-based challenge that encourages kids to think of technology solutions to real-world problems. Teams design and program an autonomous robot that scores points on a themed table-top playing field. Past challenges have been inspired by environment, transportation, accessibility, and exploration. FLL team members engage in brainstorming, research, design, and coding while practicing the engineering design process of building, testing, re-building, re-testing, etc. Students will work with LEGO Education Spike Prime robotics components and use drag-and-drop coding blocks to program their robots on laptop computers.
FLL members have fun with friends, encourage and support each other, and learn the art of gracious competition. In addition to the robot challenge, FLL team members compete in short, on-the-spot challenge problems in the Innovation Project phase of the competitions. FLL is also known for its philosophies of “gracious professionalism” and “cooperation” which are expressed in the organization’s Core Values of discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork, and fun. Teams are also judged on how well they promote and exhibit these core values.
The FLL team will be comprised of a minimum of four (4), maximum of eight (8) students. If more than eight students express interest in the Compass team, a waiting list will be maintained. An additional team(s) will only be considered if parents are willing to coach.
Compass FLL members must be homeschooled students in 5th-7th grade* Membership is only open to current, registered Compass students. Students must maintain their Compass enrollment throughout the FLL competition year. Grade* is defined by student’s age-based enrollment if he/she were in traditional school without acceleration, grade skipping, or delayed entry. Members must be minimum age 11 by September 30 of the school year.
Team members must have taken either a Robot Fab Lab or LEGO Robotics Training Team course at Compass within the last year.
The team will meet at Compass on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 pm- 8:00 pm and Saturdays from 11:00 am- 2:00 pm starting August 19. Additional team meetings may be needed for final practice sessions closer to competitions. The Compass teams will participate in a DC/VA regional competition in mid-October through early November (competition dates are assigned by lottery). The team may advance to a later state-level competition.
The Compass FLL team will be mentored by two volunteer Compass science teachers, Karen Shumway and Sandy Preaux, who are also both Compass parents. Mrs. Shumway has extensive experience in FLL through NOVA Labs, and Mrs. Preaux is a scientist who uses coding in her career. Teen volunteers (age 15+) who have experience with FLL will be welcomed as assistant coaches (whose effort can count toward volunteer hours.) Any additional FLL teams would also need all volunteer mentor and coach roles filled before getting started.
The estimated cost of an FLL team is $2,400-$3,200, which will be divided among the 4-8 team members. This cost covers the robotics sets, the current year’s challenge kit, team registration, regional competition fees, team t-shirts, and presentation materials. There is an opportunity for families to solicit tax-deductible contributions to the team, such as through their employers. When the number of team members is finalized, the $400-$600 student fees will be collected. If the team decides to participate in additional competitions or advances to the regional competition, participating families will incur additional registration fees.