FAQs - FIRST® LEGO® League Explore
If you're new to FIRST® LEGO® League Explore, you probably have a lot of questions about how the programme works. If you have a question that isn't answered here, please feel free to contact us at FLLExplore@theiet.org.
What kit do I need?
You will need that season’s themed Explore Set, which you receive upon registration with the IET, and a LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 or SPIKE Essential – which IS NOT included in the registration fee. There are lots of LEGO® Education distributors who sell these but we recommend OKdo.
I’m on a shoestring budget – will I still be able enter?
Just like when setting up a new sports team, you’ll need to invest in a bit of kit (see above). However, there are various options you could explore to keep these costs down. For example:
- Approach local engineering-based companies to see if they’ll sponsor you as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) work. As well as helping with your costs, they could provide team t-shirts with the company’s logo.
- Contact your local STEM Learning contract holder to see if they know of anyone in the area who has a spare WeDo 2.0 kit that you could borrow while you get started.
- Contact us at FLLExplore@theiet.org to see if we have any sponsored team places available. Each year various companies sponsor teams to take part in the competition. There may be specific eligibility requirements.
Our Festival is next week – and we don’t have a WeDo 2.0 or SPIKE Essential. What should we do?
Go along anyway! We are sure the team have built a brilliant model and done lots of great research. Even though coding and programming is a part of the challenge, the team can still show the work they have done, and hopefully, have a great day and be inspired.
We are sure they will see the models that the other teams have created and be excited about being able to program their model next year.
My child is LEGO® mad but isn’t in a team. Can they compete by themselves?
Unfortunately not. FIRST® LEGO® League Explore is a team challenge and is about more than just LEGO® building and coding. A third of the challenge is all about the Core Values that the children develop throughout – and the sessions are geared towards teamwork.
If you think your child would love FIRST® LEGO® League Explore (and really, what child wouldn’t?), create a team with them and some friends, or even siblings, and maybe you could be the coach yourself. Find out more about becoming a coach and what it takes.
I’m not a teacher – can I be a coach?
Absolutely. Almost half of our teams are non-school groups. Find out more about getting involved.
My team are so excited about attending their Festival – but I have seven children in my team. Is that allowed?
Teams are limited to six children officially, and there are good reasons for this, but we never want to turn away an engaged and excited child.
Speak to your local Festival host, explain the situation, and if they have the capacity, it should be ok. If you aren’t sure who your host is, please contact FLLExplore@theiet.org.
I’ve just found out about this brilliant programme, but our nearest Festival is in a few weeks. Is there enough time to complete the challenge?
Yes. The Team Meeting Guide (which is the coach’s handbook), is broken down into 12 sessions, but you don’t need to complete every session, and you can also combine sessions.
You could have three or four longer meetings that were each a few hours long, or even one intensive week leading up to the Festival. Several teams choose this option and prefer it to spreading the challenge over 12 weeks.
Our Festival is next week, and the team aren’t ready. I don’t want them to be embarrassed compared to the other teams – can we pull out?
As long as the team have some sort of LEGO® model, a basic program, and have done some research – they should absolutely attend the Festival. Remember – it is a non-competitive event – and every team will be recognised for what they have achieved.
The day is not about comparing each team to one another, it is about celebrating the individuality of each team and making every child feel proud of what they achieved. It would be a real shame for them to have completed some work and then not be able to share it. They also won’t get their super-cool LEGO® medal – so it’s got to be worth the trip just for that.
I want to enter more than one team – is that allowed?
Of course. You can do that when you register online. If you have up to five teams – what about FIRST® LEGO® League Explore Class Pack?
What happens at a Festival?
A Festival is an opportunity for teams to share their hard work and display those all-important communication skills. It will be a 2-3 hour event, and teams will each have an area to display their LEGO® model and WeDo 2.0/ SPIKE Essential program, and their team poster. There will be lots of other teams there too from other schools or groups, so teams can share with other teams.
Festivals vary across the country depending on the venue, but every team at every Festival will be given the opportunity to talk about their work to some reviewers. Reviewers are adult volunteers who may be engineers, or experts in the STEM field, and will spend around 10 minutes speaking to your team. The objective is to make the children feel proud of what they have achieved and allow them to communicate what they have learnt.
Then there may be other STEM activities going on before the medal ceremony. Every child will receive a medal and certificate, with lots of high fives also being given out. It is a really fun event – we want children to leave feeling proud of themselves, and excited to continue developing their STEM and communication skills.