All questions and answers
Important Information: EV3 on Mac Operating Systems (macOS)
Dear Teams and Partners,
LEGO® Education® has an important announcement for FIRST® LEGO® League teams working on Mac Operating Systems (macOS). Please read the message below carefully and share with your teams where necessary.
The current version of the EV3 Lab software is not compatible with the upcoming update to macOS, called Catalina. We are therefore introducing a brand-new EV3 app in November 2019, called LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 Classroom. Based on the SPIKE™ app, EV3 Classroom will feature a coding language based on Scratch that we are confident will unleash the full potential of EV3 in the FIRST® LEGO® League program. The first release of EV3 Classroom will be in US English, followed by the other 15 EV3 languages in spring 2020.
To continue to enjoy an uninterrupted EV3 experience and to avoid losing your programs, we strongly recommend that you do not update to Catalina until the end of the FIRST® LEGO® League season in July 2020. If you have already updated to the new OS, please contact Technical Consumer Service at education.LEGO.com/en-us/
For further questions and support, we encourage you to reach out to Technical Consumer Service using the link above.
Do we really have to read the FAQs?
Yes, it is very important to have the FAQs always in view. Changes or additions to the rules may be published during the season up to the day before your regional competition.
Is it permitted to use the SPIKE Prime robot in the 2019/20 season?
No. In the season 2019/20 "CITY SHAPER" SPIKE Prime is not yet allowed.
Do I have to bring my engineering notebook to the regional competition?
It is not compulsory to bring your engineer's notebook to the regional competition. However, it may be useful to be able to document your work to the judges.
So: You can, but you don't have to bring the engineering notebook to the regional competition.
Can a team be disqualified?
If a team does not exhibit Core Values at a FIRST® LEGO® League tournament, they may be disqualified from winning any awards – including Robot Game, no matter how well they scored.
Adults are strictly prohibited from directing team members or interfering with the judging process or robot rounds in any way.
As the coach, do I have to know how to program the LEGO® robots myself?
No. It’s not difficult to pick up the basics of the MINDSTORMS software, and it’s up to the team members to find the information they need to complete the challenges.
The latest version of the LEGO® Mindstorms software has a Getting Started section with very useful lessons.
Download the latest version of the software.
My team are new and don’t think they’ll be ready to compete at the tournament. Can we pull out?
As long as your team have made an effort at tackling the project and robot game in the spirit of the Core Values, they will learn a lot from attending the tournament and will enjoy the day. The aim of the tournament is to celebrate the work that the students have done. All tournament staff will be working hard to make sure that there is a positive, encouraging atmosphere, so whether the team win an award or not they should come away feeling good about their work. If they’ve enjoyed working on the challenges and have fun at the tournament then you will have completed a successful first year in FIRST® LEGO® League, and should be well placed to go again next season!
An award in a FLL tournament can only be won by teams that have participated in all 4 evaluations (Research, Robot Design, Teamwork and Robot Game). Qualification for a further tournament is also only possible for these teams.
What if parts of the challenge set are missing?
You can reorder any missing parts or entire packages that are missing for free from LEGO.
If you followed this link, click on “Missing Bricks” and then give the set number. The 5-digit set number can be found in the top left of the package sticker on your challenge set.
You can also easily order missing bags from the LEGO® customer service at the following free telephone number:
00800 5346 5555
LEGO® Customer Service staff speak several languages.
At the regional tournament, which team will qualify in the Robot Game after the 3 preliminary rounds, when 2 teams have the same score in their best match?
If 2 teams have the same score in their best match in the Robot Game after the 3 preliminary rounds, the scores of the second best preliminary or – if there is also the same number of points – the third best preliminary round of both teams will be compared. The team with the higher score qualifies.
If 2 teams always score the same number of points in the 3 preliminary rounds, a play-off will be run (1 match).
What awaits me regarding the evaluation software?
Please note: The evaluation software is only available in English. So preferably you familiarize yourself with the English terms of the Robot Game, so you can follow and understand the referees what they type in their tablets at the evaluation of the match.
Does the presentation of the research project have to be presented in the respective local language?
The language at the regional tournament is based upon the respective local language (at a regional tournament in Germany, the language is German, at a regional tournament in Poland, the language is Polish). The background is that the parameters should be the same for all participants.
This applies for all evaluations, presentations, interviews with the judges and for the presentation of the regional tournament.
What happens with robots which are built with the aid of a construction manual?
Teams who build a robot with the aid of a construction manual must expect the robot not to be rated as the team’s own creative achievement in the category robot design.
At this point, it should also be noted that the circulating construction manuals often refer only to basic robots that meet the specific requirements of the actual season only inadequate.
So: no plagiarisms! Because what counts in the category robot design is the team’s creative achievement at programming and design!
What is the maximum score that can be achieved with the robot game?
We asked our partner FRIST for the maximum number of points to be reached. The maximum number of points is not calculated by FIRST, so that this number will not discourage anyone from taking part in the competition or deterring anyone. Accordingly, the total score is not published.
Is it possible to become a junior coach with 17 years?
A team can be supervised by several coaches and / or mentors. But there is only one "official" FLL coach who registers the team and is in contact with us. He/she gets all the important information about the contest and for he/she is the person in charge during the tournament. But he/she can get support and advice from other coaches or mentors. But it is important: coaches and mentors should guide the workflow of your team, but should not proposes any solutions. They should "coach" but stay out of the substantive work of the team. We are delighted to support former team members who wants to be involved with the coach job.
Where can I find the evaluation sheets?
You'll find the evaluation form for each category under the subheading “Evaluation”.
For example, you'll get the evaluation sheet for the category teamwork here: https://www.first-lego-league.org/en/season/teamwork.html#2
Are the FLL tables identical at all tournaments?
Please consider while constructing and programming that there can be variations between different tournaments depending on local conditions. The variations might occure in differenciations in the character of the field borders, lightning conditions, structure/irregularties of the field mat. At many tournaments there is no opportunity to roll out the mats early enough so that they might be a little bit wavy. Place and severity of waves can vary.
Hint: There are two important construction techniques to minimize differences in illumination:
1. Avoid control systems containing something that might rub on the mat.
2. Hide light sensors from ambient light.
Questions according the local conditions at regional tournaments can be posed directly to the local organiser. Please find there contact dates on the regional websites.
The innovation project problem statement instructs teams to:
- Identify a problem with a building or public space in your community.
- Design a solution.
- Share your solution with others and then refine it.
For this year’s project, your team is free to define “your community” in the way that works best for you. This means your team could look at a problem in your local town or city, your country, or even in another part of the world.
Are there any consequenses if a team does not prepear a research project? What will happen when a team misses the target of the research project?
A FLL team should take part in all categories of evaluation. When a team doesn't have a research project (or doesn't take part in another category of evaluation) it could not become a FLL Champion and will not be evaluated. in the particular category. All teams should act as the core values told them.
If a team fails the research project it still could be evaluated by the judges for presentation but not for “research” and not for “innovative solution”.
Are we obliged to publish the results ahead of our presentation on the tournament day?
Each team is obliged to publish the results ahead of the tournament. This can happen in several ways: presentation in front of parents, students, teachers or the interviewed experts, write an article or make a website or blog etc. The team should show the form of publishing within their presentation e.g. by a photo.
What includes the presentation?
Each team should show on which way they found the specific problem. Show how you researched and came to a soulution for the problem you chose. It is not enough to present only the result.
Shall we name our sources? Do the sources have to be part of the presentation or is it sufficient to show them at the end of the presentation?
Yes, a good presentation shows at the latest at the end all the sources the team had worked with during their research project. The sources should also be part of the 5 minutes presentation.
Do we have to prepare some written material or our presentation in written form for the judges?
No, you don´t have to produce a written material for the judges. Important is the presentation and its content you perform for the judges.
Does the research project has to have a technical approach?
No, the research project does not have to contain a technical approach.
How much time do we have for the presentation of our research results at a FLL Tournament?
At a FLL Tournament you have 5 minutes time (actual presentation time, not set up time) to present your results to the jury. The manner of presentation is up to you - you can create a role play, use Powerpoint and so on. Give your presentation live - you may use media equipment (if available) but only to enhance the live presentation.
Can we pick us any topic we like?
No, the topics are limited to the topics listed in the research project documents.
Return of the robot
The robot may only be interrupted in home without loss of precision tokens.
(If the robot returns to the launch area and is interrupted there, the team loses a precision token!)
Allowable jig use
A careful read of the rules reveals these two facts about the use of frames (“jigs”) for robot launch alignment.
- You are not allowed to be touching any jig at the time of a launch.
- The robot is not allowed to be touching a jig at the time of a launch, unless the jig is completely in the launch area.
This means there are two allowable ways to use a jig:
- For any jig: Align the robot against the jig, pull the jig completely into home, then launch.
(If you just want to use the jig to AIM the robot, this is the recommended way.)
- Only for jigs which fit and stay completely in the launch area: Align the robot against the jig, let go of the jig, then launch, leaving the jig as is, untouched until the next robot interruption.
(If you want to use the jig to aim AND GUIDE the robot, this is the required way.)
Home, strategic and adaptive storage
With the implied permission from Rule 22, and clarification here, things completely in home can be stored, handled, and shifted around any way you like, any time after inspection.
If the robot happens to interact with something which is at rest in home, that shall not be considered an interaction with you, so it’s not an interruption. Said another way: After any launch, and before the next interruption, the robot is free to go in and out of home, and interact with things, even if you “staged” them strategically.
If the robot is on the way home and you think its entry will be blocked by something in home, you can shift that thing out of the way, as long as it was and remains completely in home the whole time.
Reminder: The launch area is not part of home. You can not touch anything in the launch area between a launch and the next interruption, except to remove a stranded object as allowed in FAQ from August 20th.
Supported vs. supported “only by”
These two situations are scored differently. Remember the example below when reading robot game text:
The water is supported by the cup, since 100% of its weight is held by the cup.
The water is supported by the book, since 100% of its weight is held by the book.
Therefore, the water is NOT supported “only by” the cup (nor the book).
Boxes and trays
You can carry your equipment to the field in any box or tray. When you get to the field, place all your equipment in one of the inspection areas and store the box/tray as directed by the referee. After inspection, all your equipment is stored in home, as directed by rule 19.
If a new scoring condition is produced by the strategic timing of an Interruption (your eyes did the work of a timer or sensor), and this is obvious to the referee, Missions benefitting will not score.
If you interrupt the robot so soon after launch that it hasn’t yet reached a launch area perimeter line, you will need to re-launch, but you will not lose a precision token. This is an exception to Rule 27.
Yes, your hands can be used to restrain/confine equipment within the volume of an inspection area.
Lost cargo stranded partly or completely in the Launch Area can be taken into Home if you wish. If that action clearly/directly produces a scoring condition, the score won’t count. This exception to Rules 22 and 29 does not apply if the stranded cargo reaches out of the white/logo arc area. Please take care when using starting ramps or other aligning tools: everything that is too big for launch area, has to be taken out before launch.
IMPORTANT: Everything that fits into launch and stays there after launch may not be touched until the robot is prepared for the next start.
Is pneumatics allowed with FLL?
Yes – please note the page “Design, progem and build your robot” in the Engineering Notebook.
Is it allowed to use LEGO® DUPLO®?
Yes, it’s allowed to use LEGO® DUPLO® at FLL as equipment. See the page “Design, progem and build your robot” in the Engineering Notebook.
What are the rules for FLL and where can we find them?
With the challenge release at the beginning of August there will be all FLL Rules available online.
THE TEAMS, READING EVERYTHING have fewer questions, have less work, have fewer surprises at the tournament, score higher and have more fun.
Playing Field & Missions
Mission 2: Literal interpretation
The phrase “independent and supported by another blue unit” means “by one blue unit.”
Mission 13: Literal interpretation
The phrases “an upgrade” and “... independent and carried by a stack ...” mean “one upgrade” and “by one stack.”
Mission 11: Architecture equipment warning
Be sure your M11 structure is not touching any of your M12 stacks at the end of the match:
M12 says stacks need to be independent for their HEIGHT/levels to score.
Rule 33 defines “Independent” as not touching any equipment.
Rule 2 makes it clear that your M11 structure is equipment.
Depending on the construction of the tables, there may be a gap between the ramp of the bridge model and the black beam exactly in front of it on the field mat, which is covered with black adhesive tape (i.e. the black beam on the mat is extended to the bridge).
To find out whether this is the case for your Regional Tournament and how the new dimensions of the black bar are, please contact your Regional Partner - the contact can be found on the individual Regional Website.
Missions M12 & M13: Scoring examples stack partly/completely in
Mission 12: Scoring examples bridged stack/circle
Mission 12: Scoring examples bridged stack
Mission 12: Building units, general
Mission 1: Bridge barriers not allowed
The only way robot X can stop robot Y from scoring flag points is to be faster or stronger at scoring flag points. Robot clashes are expressly allowed in the text of Mission 1 by Rule 30’s first sentence, but all other competitive action is governed by Rule 30’s second sentence.
Mission 11: Structure size
Some measure of your Mission 11 Structure needs to be at least as long as a four-stud LEGO element.
Supplement 1 - Question: Does the 4-Stud-Size apply in all or only one dimension? Answer 1: One dimension is sufficient.
Supplement 2 – Question: Is the self built construction from Mission 11 a “Mission Model” (Rule 05) or is it “Material” (Rule 02)? Answer 2: It is treated as material, because you bring it to the table.
Mat placement and setup
When placing your field on an official table, slide the mat gently until it meets up against the south and east border walls. When table size and mat placement are correct, home will measure about 1143 mm × 342 mm.
To hold the mat in place, you may use a thin strip of black tape on the west edge as needed. Where the tape sticks to the mat, it may cover the mat’s black border only.
14.08.19 Correction of Typing Mistake: Homezone measure will be about 1143 x 342 mm, not 1143 x 393 mm as in the former version.
16.08.19 Supplement: A special color is not required for Homezone.
Mission 3: Inspection drone – Setup and placement
The correct way to build and place the drone is with the loop parallel over its marks. Your drone may need a simple rebuild as shown here:
Correct model shape and setup Turn this part 90 degrees as needed
Mission 5: What counts as “big”, what counts as “small” branch?
“Big” branches are in the lower part of the tree, where the tan unit is in the photo.
“Small” branches are in the upper part of the tree, where the blue unit is in the photo.
Mission 8: Elevator – Setup
The correct setup position for the elevator is with the blue car UP, as shown here:
Does the robot return to the Homezone after each mission?
No, the robot can return to the Homezone as often as you want. He does not have to do this after every mission. It can also combine several missions. This saves time.
To which model and which task do the white and orange LEGO pieces you've got with the challenge set belong to?
The white “coach'”pieces you'll get with the challenge sets are an accessory for the coach. They can be used as a reference to be a coach during a challange. The orange tool you'll get simplify the separating one Lego piece from another.
Do the areas between the playing field mat and the border walls also belong to the playing field or to the individual target areas?
Yes, the areas up to the border walls also belong to it.