Bethune Bears

FIRST LEGO League in Minnesota (MN FLL) is part of a global robotics program that includes more than 255,000 kids in 88 countries.

Teams collaborate to build and program an autonomous robot to score points on a thematic playing surface (the Robot Game) and create an innovative solution to a problem correlating to the yearly theme (the Project), all guided by the FIRST Core Values. These three elements; the Robot Game, the Project, and FIRST Core Values make up what is called The Challenge. Teams then compete in a Minnesota Regional event hosted by High Tech Kids.

The theme of The Challenge changes every year and is based on a real-world scientific topic. Past challenges have included topics such as nanotechnology, climate, biomedical, quality of life for the handicapped and transportation.

Each year the details of the yearly Challenge are released in August. Teams typically meet twice a week to fulfill three criteria to be used in judging at regional events:

  • The Robot Game   
    Using a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot kit, a team designs, builds and programs an autonomous robot to achieve specific missions and earn points. Robots compete in three 2.5 minute rounds in an attempt to earn as many points as possible, and teams are evaluated on mechanical design, programming, and innovation & strategy.
  • The Project
    Teams conduct research to solve a real-world problem, develop an innovative solution, share their findings with community stakeholders, and present their work at the competition. They are evaluated in research, innovative solution and presentation.
  • Core Values
    The FIRST Core Values are the cornerstones of the program. Teams are evaluated on HOW they work together, as well as inspiration, teamwork and gracious professionalism.

This team-based, hands-on, competitive robotics program provides challenging and exciting learning opportunities for young people. It spurs innovation, develops teamwork and leadership skills and promotes excitement in science and technology.  Visit the FIRST website for more program details.

FLL teams come in all shapes and sizes, however, the basic requirements are:

  • 2 adult coaches
  • 3-10 participants between 9-14* years of age
    *Team members in the United States may not exceed age 14 on January 1 the year the Challenge is released. 
  • Teams may be of mixed age and gender
  • Teams can be a group of friends or formed through an organization!

FORMING A TEAM
How to find participants and coaches

  • Hold an informational meeting at your school or organization in the spring or early September to gauge interest
  • Recruit coaches and/or co-coaches. Two coaches per team and no experience is necessary! Coaches only need a desire to learn, have fun and work with the kids, NOT a background in engineering or computer programming.

REGISTERING YOUR TEAM
Registration is a two-step process: register nationally THEN locally

  • National Registration with FIRST opens yearly in May
  • MN Registration with High Tech Kids opens on October 1st. Teams must be registered nationally before registering locally

FINDING AN EXISTING TEAM
Due to our partnership with FIRST we are unable to place children on teams or share coach contact information.

National Registration Opens May
Challenge Release August
Minnesota Registration Opens October 1
Coach Training (optional) September – October
Minnesota Regional Tournaments November – December
Minnesota Sectional Tournaments (for advancing teams) January
Minnesota State Championship (for advancing teams) February
World Championship (for advancing teams) April

FLL Teams typically meet twice per week for approximately 2.5 hours.

FIRST-YEAR TEAM
The average cost for Team of 10: $92/student.

LEGO® EV3 Robot and MINDSTORMS® Software $490
FIRST ® National Team Registration and Challenge Kit $299
High Tech Kids Minnesota Regional Tournament $125
Total:    $914
Additional costs for advancing teams:
High Tech Kids Minnesota Sectional Tournament $150
High Tech Kids Minnesota State Championship $175
FIRST ® World Festival $1000

SECOND-YEAR TEAM
The average cost for Team of 10: $43/student.

FIRST ® National Team Registration and Challenge Kit $299
High Tech Kids Minnesota Regional Tournament $125
Total:    $424
Additional costs for advancing teams:
High Tech Kids Minnesota Sectional Tournament $150
High Tech Kids Minnesota State Championship $175
FIRST ® World Festival $1000

TEAM SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS

High Tech Kids offers a very limited number of scholarships to Minnesota teams. Please see the scholarship and grant page for details regarding the current opportunities.

Minnesota Scholarship and Grant Information

High Tech Kids, in partnership with FIRST, has been bringing FIRST LEGO League to Minnesota since 1998.

MN FIRST ® LEGO® League Sponsors