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FIRST® LEGO® League in Oregon & SW Washington

This page is for those interested in becoming involved in FLL
Current FLL Coaches will find helpful information here.

Questions and Answers and Information about FIRST LEGO League (FLL)

FLL Program Description

FLL in pictures and video

What is the FLL Challenge about?

Thinking about coaching an FLL Team?

What is FIRST®?

What is ORTOP?

ORTOP Mission Statement

Can ORTOP help me find a team for my child?

Where are FLL teams located in Oregon?

FREE ORTOP FLLWorkshops for Adults

What should I expect if I'm a FLL coach or mentor?

What would I see if I visited a FIRST LEGO League team meeting?

What kind of robot does a FLL team need?
What do I need to know about the new EV3?

Do you have the basic info in a handout?

Is there any financial aid to help teams get started?

What about tournaments?

FLL Program Costs

2012Timeline for FIRST® LEGO® League /“Senior Solutions - Independent, Engaged, Connected"

What is the age policy for FIRST LEGO League?

Tournament Event FAQ


  • Oregon FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Events

  • Intel Oregon FIRST LEGO League Championship presented by Rockwell Collins




The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) program is an excellent way for young people to experience the excitement of technical creativity and gain insights in the possibility of a a technical careers. Participating on an FLL team is a fun way to learn about mechanical design and computer programming as well as teamwork and other life skills. No previous technical or programming experience is required to join a team. The robots are programmed using a "flow chart" rather than a traditional programming language. Coaches often have the help of a technical mentor to teach the team members how to build and program a robot.

In FIRST LEGO League 9- to 14-year-old youngsters learn to design and build autonomous robots using special LEGO kits. The program includes a 10- to 12-week period in which youngsters form teams, develop robots that can respond to individual tasks as part of an overall Challenge, then compete at one of the many tournaments we hold in Oregon and SW Washington. Through this process, youngsters experience the fun and excitement of solving problems in a positive and supportive team environment.



Get in the Game!

video explanation of a previous year’s robot mission

What is the FLL Challenge about?

CLICK HERE to read the 2013 overview of FLL Challenge Nature's Fury: Prepared. Stay Safe. Rebuild.

Each year FLL teams embark on an adventurous Challenge based on current, real-world issues. Guided by a team coach and assisted by mentors, the kids:

  • Research and solve a real-world problem based on the Challenge theme
  • Present their research and solutions
  • Build an autonomous robot using engineering concepts

Using the yearly Challenges, FLL:

  • Entices kids to think like scientists and engineers
  • Provides a fun, creative, hands-on learning experience
  • Teaches kids to experiment and overcome obstacles
  • Builds self-esteem and confidence
  • Inspires kids to participate in science and technology

No matter what the child’s subject interest, FLL offers an opportunity for engagement. Whether it is by creativity, technology, or research, FLL dares kids to test, explore, expand, or completely change thoughts and approaches for different sciences each year.


Thinking about coaching an FLL Team?

Are you new to FIRST LEGO League and LEGO robotics? Each year there are many new coaches, mentors, judges, and referees that get involved for with our program. Focusing on coaching a team for a moment, you should know

  • Coaches aren't expected to be technical experts. They focus on organizing the team. The team members are responsible for building the robot, etc.
  • We have a special award category at our many Qualifying Tournaments (QT) that is highlight outstanding work by young and rookie team members.
  • The annual challenge and research project is organized so brand new teams can learn as much or more as an experience team and have a lot of fun doing it. For instance the annual challenge is organized into a set of missions, some much easier than others. A new team should choose two or three simple missions and focus on building a robot to achieve them.
  • We offer free workshops for prospective new coaches.
  • Teams can be affiliated with schools, scouts, neighborhoods, churches, etc. All that's required is that at least one adult take responsibility for organizing the team and getting it registered.
  • If you want to organize a team that is affiliated with your child's school, consider asking your child's teacher for permission to use a classroom for an information meeting of children and adults and ask your child's classmates to take home invitations to their parents. You may want to use the 2013 Oregon FIRST flyer to help get the word out. Or show them the "What is FIRST LEGO League in Oregon"
  • We provide answers to your questions and concerns by email and telephone.
  • It's all about learning and fun!
What is FIRST®?

FIRST®- For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology

An international non-profit organization called FIRST , located in Manchester, NH, organizes an annual network of robotics tournaments under the names FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and Junior FIRST LEGO League(Jr.FLL). FIRST focuses on promoting science and technology to young people. They have formed a network of robotics tournaments that use 3 unique types of robotics kits. Over the last several years, similar robotics tournaments held in other states and countries have proven to be extremely valuable in inspiring young people's interest in science and technology and preparing them to enter tomorrow's workforce. Click here to link to the FIRST website

What is ORTOP?

Oregon Robotics Tournament & Outreach Program is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit corporation.  ORTOP serves as the Affiliate Partner for FIRST LEGO League, Jr. FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge in Oregon and SW Washington.

To accomplish its mission, ORTOP uses a three programs developed and distributed by the FIRST, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) an internationally recognized educational foundation located in Manchester, New Hampshire. These three programs are FIRST LEGO League, Junior FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge.

ORTOP is almost entirely volunteer driven. The ORTOP Board of Directors is made up of volunteers from the programs sponsors and partners and well as private individuals. Many adult volunteers will organize and coach teams this year, while additional volunteers will plan and stage workshops, scrimmages and the Championship Tournament. These volunteers come from many sources, including sponsors and community partners.

ORTOP Mission Statement Its mission is to open doors to the worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics for Oregon's youth by providing educational opportunities featuring robotics with special emphasis on maximizing the diversity of those participating.
Can ORTOP help me find a team for my child?

Yes and No.
PLEASE NOTE------ ORTOP cannot place children onto existing teams, give out coach contact information or connect parents with current coaches. This is the policy of the FIRST® organization.
1) We suggest that you ask at the school office if a FLL team exists and who to contact.
2) Consider starting your own team.
3) Consult this Team Up! - a matching service provided by FIRST®
4) Check with your local 4-H office. Many counties have FLL teams.

Where are teams located in Oregon?

Everywhere! This is the current list. Please note: ORTOP cannot give out any contact information for any team. Click here.

Starting your own team is easy. We even provide workshops for new coaches.

FREE ORTOP FLLWorkshops for Adults
Schedule and Registration

June – September
Portland Area

Free ORTOP Workshops offered for adults to learn how to be coaches and mentors. Held in Portland Metro area.

Outside of Portland

If there is interest, ORTOP will hold Extended Saturday workshops in Southern, Eastern and Central Oregon (one per location) during the summer.


                     Workshop I – Introduction to FIRST® LEGO® League, ORTOP and LEGO Robotics

                     Workshop II – Coaching and Mentoring Techniques

                     Workshop III – Robotics Techniques

                     Workshop IV – All Day Extended Saturday – combines Workshops I, II & III

Each workshop includes some aspect of learning to build and program an NXT Robot as well as the aspects of the tournament elements and procedure/paperwork details.

Also for teachers! SuperQuest (community partner of  ORTOP), Next SuperQuest will be in June 2013.
Low cost Professional Development Summer Training for teachers in LEGO Robotics & other tech topics
What should I expect if I'm a FLL coach or mentor? Click here to read an informative description about being an FLL coach or mentor
What would I see if I visited a FIRST LEGO League team meeting?

If you visited a FLL team meeting you would see 6 -10 kids, ages 9 – 14, working with a NXT LEGO Mindstorm Robot kit.  A few kids would be using the 1000+ parts in the kit to construct a LEGO Robot with motors, sensors (Light, Touch, Ultrasonic-distance and/or Sound) and the NXT brick that acts as the robot’s computer. The robot would also have 3 or 4 wheels to help it move around. 
Other kids would be at a 4’ x 8‘ mat in a FLL competition table with Food FactorLEGO mission Models. They would be figuring out strategies for the robot’s path or working with LEGO elements to construct attachments for the robot push, pull or lift items on the mission models to achieve the task.

Other team members are on the internet/looking in books researching the team’s Project.  The Project is a 5-minute presentation of the team’s solution to the
Food Factor: Keeping Food Safe 2011 Project Challenge.
And everyone is working as a team!

What kind of robot does a FLL team need?

This season LEGO Education has introduced the next generation of LEGO Mindstorm robots. The EV3 will be added to the robot systems that can be used by FIRST LEGO League teams in competition. The RCX and NXT will remain as legal robotic platforms for FIRST LEGO League. The EV3 will ship to teams who have ordered one on August 1, 2013.

Click links for what is in an FLL LEGO Mindstorm robot competition kit:

NXT kit (base kit) $294.95
Extra LEGO Elements (Education Resource Kit) - $99.95
NXT-G Software  $79.95

The above three items are sold as a bundled set for $435 when purchased with a FLL national registration. Optional - Color Sensor (legal one for FLL competitions) Product ID: W979694

EV3 Core Set $339.95
EV3 Expansion Set - $99.95
EV3 Software - - $99.95

The above three items are sold as a bundled set for $499 when purchased with a FLL national registration.


PRICING AND PRODUCTS LIST: On the FLL national registation site, purchasers are given a list of many, many items to buy. Not all of these are necessary to have a FIRST LEGO League Team.
ORTOP has sorted through the list and made recommendation as to what is Required, Optional or totally not necessary for an FLL Team. Click here to see our list of recommendations.

Should our team purchase the new EV3? That is a decision completely up to the coaches and mentors. We will share that the programming is significantly different. ORTOP has not been able to secure an EV3 to develop workshop materials. However, Dale Yocum, who developed the highly acclaimed RCX and NXT tutorials, is developing an online tutorial for the EV3. A getting started "NXT to EV3 programming" tutorial for veteran teams will be available in August. A more detailed tutorial for all users will be shared as soon as it is complete. ORTOP is working with Dale Yocum to provide the best resources that we can under the time constraints.

What do teams do and how do we get started

The adult coach for each team should register the team at the FIRST LEGO League web site. The registration fee is $225, which stays with FIRST -- the national non-profit organization that organizes tournaments all over the country and internationally. Once the team has registered and paid the registration fee, it will receive a coaches handbook that includes basic info on team building, rolls, funding raising hints, brainstorming techniques, etc. The team registration fee includes one team membership (up to 10 children) to the FLL International program; access to the FLL on-line web community and the FLL International forum; coach and team resource tools; and customer, technical, and engineering support from FIRST Headquarters. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization. The team registration fee contributes to the growth and sustainability of the FLL program and supports ongoing program developments. Teams can also purchase the kits they will need at the same time they register.

Scholarships are available through ORTOP for teams that cannot otherwise afford to participate in the FLL program

Each year the robot challenge involves multiple missions arranged on a 4 foot by 8 foot mat where mission elements in a standard way. Each team will design a robot that will solve as many parts of the mission as possible. The details will be announced on September 2, 2011. National team registration runs from May through the end of September, or until all registration slots are filled. This has happened in late September. In early October, teams can register fo ra qualifying tournaments. In Oregon teams will register for Oregon Qualifying Tournaments (QT). Winners from the Qualifying Tournaments will advance to one of two Intel Oregon FLL Championship Tournaments. The Oregon local/state tournament registration fee will be $75.

Teams will have about two months to prepare their robot for a qualifying tournament. Qualifyingl Tournaments are held during the second and third weekends of December.

Do you have the basic info in a handout? Yes! FIRST LEGO League at a Glance in Oregon - 2013.
Is there any financial aid to help teams get started?

ORTOP has a limited number of partial grants to cover fees, robot kits or tournament materials to schools and community organizations serving students that meet financial aid requirements based on free and reduced lunch status. Scholarship information will be up by mid-May.


What about tournaments? ORTOP holds many FLL qualifying tournaments and two state championships. Click here to see schedule. Every FLL team in Oregon attends one qualifying tournament and 115- 120 teams advance to the state championships.


Program Costs when purchased through FIRST LEGO League
(prices listed are for the 2013 season and are subject to change)

FIRST® LEGO® League National Registration (up to 10 students)


FIRST® LEGO® League annual challenge Field Set-up Kit (Food Factor)
(can be shared by two or more teams at one location)


LEGO®  Mindstorm EV3 FLL Competition Robot Kit with software (reusable each year) 


*Total Shipping and Handling for a NEW team


ORTOP Tournament Program Fee


Materials to build a 4’ x 8’ competition table for field set-up kit  
(reusable each year –can be shared by two or more teams at one location)

$50 - $75 range

Total cost for a first year team


Total cost for a returning team


List of FLL Products and Pricing with recommendations from ORTOP as to what to purchase

2013 Timeline

2013 Timeline for FIRST® LEGO® League /"Nature's Fury:Prepare. Safe Safe. Rebuild.

May 6

National Team Registration Open for FIRST LEGO League and materials order submitted.  A team registration is for a maximum of 10 students. NXT Robot Kits ships upon payment


LEGO®  Education ships annual Challenge materials to teams

August 27

2012 FLL Challenge released –Teams begin to solve the annual Challenge

Late September

National FLL registration closes when Field Set-up kits are sold out

Early October

Registration for a ORTOP Qualifying tournament in Oregon - All nationally registered FLL teams are sent a link to apply to an official FLL Qualifying Tournament. This will happen the 1st week of October AFTER national registration closes.

December 6, 7, 13 & 14

26 Qualifying Tournaments held in Portland Metro area, Bend, Grants Pass, Hood River
La Grande, McMinnville Medford, Philomath, The Dalles, Vancouver.

January 17 & 18, 2015

Intel Oregon FLL Championship Tournament held in Hillsboro, Oregon

What is the age policy for FIRST LEGO League? Age Policy for FIRST LEGO LeagueTo participate in the 2013 season, a team member must be younger than fifteen on January 1, 2013. This means that students who turn fifteen in 2013 can participate in the 2013 season. Parents of children who were younger than nine on January 1, 2011 should ask the team's coach if the child can participate on the team. Whether or not to include team members younger than 9 is a coach decision. For students in 1st - 3rd grade, Junior FIRST LEGO League is a great and age appropriate alternative to FIRST LEGO League.
For Students Younger than 9 or Older than 14
If your children are younger than 9 click here for Jr FLL
If your children are 12 and older and currently in 7th grade -12th grade

click here for FIRST Tech Challenge for 7th - 12th grade.

click here for Oregon FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students.

If you don't have any children that are between 6 and 18 or you're reading this in your professional capacity click here to learn about volunteer opportunities with FIRST!

FIRST LEGO League Events in Oregon & SW Washington

How would you describe your tournaments? Our robotics events combine the high energy of a rock concert, the competitiveness and mascots of an NCAA final four competition,the intensity and technology of the NASCAR pits, the showmanship of a Broadway play, and our unique FIRST traditions starting with a spirit of "Gracious Professionalism."
------Dean Kamen, Founder of FIRST
Is the public welcome to attend the events?


Oregon FIRST® LEGO® League Qualifying Tournaments
and the Intel Oregon FIRST® LEGO® League Championships presented by Rockwell Collins are free and open to the public*.
We encourage you to stop by and watch the exciting action as our FLL teams compete in this year's

*All events are open to the public with the exception of events at Intel Jones Farm. Due to space limitations, events at Intel Jones Farm are only open to team members and their families.

Looking for a FLL Team to cheer for?
Are you a coach wanting to register a team for an Oregon Qualifying Tournament?
  • AFTER national FLL registration closes in late Sept/early October, ORTOP will post a link (and send it by email) to all nationally registered FLL coaches in Oregon and SW Washington. Oregon FLL
  • Qualifying Tournament registration will stay open for about 10 days.
  • Qualifying Tournament Assignments will be posted in mid-to-late October.