Preparing for a FIRST LEGO League Tournament Event

Teams are guaranteed a minimum of eight weeks from the challenge global announcement in late August until their official qualifying event. During the build season teams are designing, building, and programming their LEGO MINDSTORMS robots to complete this year’s Robot Game missions. They’re also identifying and completing research in support of their challenge Project. Most importantly, during the season teams spend time practicing and demonstrating FIRST LEGO League core values.

As teams prepare for a South Carolina FIRST LEGO League tournament there are a few essential items they must produce well in advance of arriving at the tournament.



Core Values PosterThe FIRST LEGO League is not just a robotics competition! It’s a journey about personal and team growth. It’s not about what a team wins. but instead it’s about what they learn along the way. A successful team is not measured by the points they score in the Robot Game or the number of trophies they carry home, but by the skills they learn and use after the season is over.

At a tournament one of the ways teams demonstrate their Core Values is by presenting a core values poster. Teams are only given two minutes to briefly summarize their poster. Since teams have so few moments to present their core values, we require that they use a traditional tri-fold poster board. Click the image for an enlarged version of the core values poster and the expected layout.



Each year the theme for the FIRST LEGO League changes, and with that so does the focus of the research project. It’s expected that teams thoroughly read through the Challenge Guide and carefully consider the specific problem being addressed by the current theme. The research Project is a large part of FIRST LEGO League.

At a tournament teams are welcome to use any presentation method they feel will most effectively convey their Project to the judges. With that said, please keep in mind the following restrictions,

  • Teams are given a strict five minute limit to present their Project. This time limit includes setup time.
  • Only team members are allowed to setup for the presentations.
  • Coaches are only allowed to help with setup when the conditions would compromise the physical safety of the kids. For example, carrying in a television.
  • Teams are only guaranteed access to an electrical outlet for their presentation. Because each venue is different we cannot guarantee access to projectors, computers, or even tables for setting things on.
  • At most venues WiFi access is rarely available.

If your team has any questions about the Project, including if their problem and solution satisfies the current Challenge requirements, please feel free to contact the State Judge Advisor at



ev3-basic-botDuring the build season teams design, build, and program a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot. These robots are engineered to complete the Challenge missions.

As teams ponder which missions they’re going to complete and how they’re going to do so it’s absolutely crucial that they carefully read, and reread, and reread again, and then reread one more time the Challenge Guide. It’s not a coincidence that the most successful teams know the rules inside and out. There’s nothing more frustrating than coming up with an apparent innovate solution to a Challenge mission only to find out from the Head Referee that the solution violates one of the rules.

If you team needs help with the Robot Game, we’ve provided some guidance over on the FIRST LEGO League Team Resources page. Also, if you have any questions about a mission or scoring, please feel free to contact the State Head Referee at



A big draw to any FIRST LEGO League event is the Robot Game. Of course, there’s a lot teams put into designing, building, and programming their robots. During the Robot Design judging session teams are evaluated on these ideas.

To facilitate the Robot Design judging teams are required to present a Robot Design Executive Summary. Unlike the Core Values Poster, teams are not required to create a poster to present their robot’s engineering. With the Robot Design Executive Summary teams can get creative in how they present their creative approaches to designing and programming. It may be a flashy poster with colorful pictures. It may be a well organized engineering notebook. Or it may be some other creative way to present the key ideas behind the robot.

The Robot Design Executive Summary should touch on the follow,

  • Unique robot facts that make the robot stand out from all the others
  • Design details that help judges understand the strategy, mechanical design, and programming.

Teams should also expect to demonstrate their approach to solving some of their favorite missions.

For more information on the Robot Design Executive Summary please read the relevant pages of the Challenge Guide.



team-information-sheet-imageTeams are required to bring along three hard copies of a Team Information Sheet (pdfWord) to every official South Carolina FIRST LEGO League event they attend. At the event teams submit one copy at each of their judging sessions. Judges use the sheets to learn about the teams, find out about their strengths, and use the information in the judge deliberation process.

As teams fill out their Team Information Sheets they are highly encouraged to include an accurate team photo, ideally with members wearing their team shirts/outfits (if applicable). Judges see a lot of teams throughout the day. An accurate photo allows judges to easily associate the unique qualities a team presents alongside a visual reminder for the team.



Prior to arriving at any South Carolina FIRST LEGO League event, parents for each team member must complete a Consent & Release form for their child. This is accomplished by the lead coach sending out invitations through the team profile page.

For Coaches

On the team profile page their’s an option on the left hand side of the screen labeled, “Manage Team Contacts/Rosters”. On that page is the option to “Invite Parents/Guardians”. Once selected the coach will need to enter the parents’ names and email addresses. Once the coach clicks “Add” an automatic email is sent to the parents.

After the parents have completed the online Consent & Release form and applied to your team, the lead coach must accept the child to the team. Doing so adds the child to the official team roster, which leads to the below question.

For Parents

Each parent must create a Parent/Guardian account at if they do not already have an account from a prior season. Once a parent/guardian account is created parents may login and complete their child’s Consent & Release form. They do this by selecting the “Complete Youth Member Registration” button from the “I Want To…” menu to begin registering your child.

For the parents out there, FIRST has put together instructions and an FAQ for filling out your child’s Consent & Release forms.

Team Rosters

Coaches, once every team member has completed their Consent & Release form, you can print an official team roster following these instructions. This is a must! Teams are required to submit an official team roster at check-in for every official FIRST LEGO League tournament they attend.

If parents are unable to electronically complete the Consent & Release forms, then a paper form may be filled out. Forms are available here. Please only use this option as a last resort. If a parent/guardian uses a paper form, it must be completed prior to arriving at the event and attached to the printed official roster.



The above items are essential in completing a successful FIRST LEGO League season. Teams should expect to spend more than one team meeting in preparing those items.

With so much to keep track teams are encouraged to view our Tournament Checklist page for a helpful list of items to bring to the tournament.