Find the scholarship application here.

Purpose of FLL Scholarship program:

To encourage students under-represented in science and technology in the skills and fun of science and technology, by providing assistance to access the programs sponsored by Illinoia FIRST.

For teams to be successful, it is important that persons applying for a scholarship have an understanding of the FLL program and what is expected of our scholarship coaches.

What is a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team and what do they do?

If you visited an FLL team meeting you would see 6 - 10 kids, ages 9 - 14, working with an 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 EVe brick that acts as the robot's computer.  The robot would also have 2 - 4 wheels to help it move around.Other kids would be at a 4' X 8' mat on an FLL competition table with season-specific LEGO mission models.  They would be figuring out strategies for the robot's path or working with LEGO parts to construct attachments for the robot to push, pull or lift items on the mission models to achieve the task.Other team members would be on the internet or looking at books researching the team's Project.  The Project is a 5-minute presentation of the team's solution to the Project Challenge.  If you return another day, you might see the same groups but the kids would have switched to working in a different group.

What every FLL team needs:

Provided by the Team!

  • A place to practice at least once a week, twice a week is better.
  • A computer with XP, Vista or Mac OS X operating system
  • Committed Coach(es)!

 Provided by the Team and/or by a Scholarship:

  • FLL National Registration 
  • FLL Competition  EV3 Robot Set (Can be used again in subsequent years)
  • Field Set-up Kit for current season
  • An FLL Competition Table.  Your table can even consist of 2" X 4" boards to form a border around the mat placed on the floor.  (Scholarship may provide funds to buy materials; coach must find a way to build it. This also can be used again in subsequent years.)
  •  Illinois Registration Fee

What is the Coach doing?

The coach is facilitating the team's progress, helping them work together as a team, helping them find resources and/or teaching robot building and programming skills, serving snacks, keeping the team on task, helping them find resources for the  project.  It is up to the kids to solve the challenge.  Just as a math teacher can demonstrate how to solve a sample problem but cannot do the specific problems on the test, the FLL coach can demonstrate how to program but cannot program the specific missions of the challenge.  The coach can enlist other adults to help with these coaching activities but the kids make the decisions and do the work.

What else does a scholarship team coach do?

 A lot!  Coaches are the heroes of FIRST LEGO League!  This list of tasks can be divided among several adults depending on your school, program, organization or club situation.  In a timeline order:

  • May - Sept. 1:  Apply for the scholarship.  The earlier the better! 
  • Buy materials and build a competition board to suit your needs.  Directions can be found here.  NEW! The supports underneath are nice but not necessary.  Although not ideal, your table can even consist of 2" X 4" boards to form a border and place the mat on the floor.  Whatever works for your location. 
  • Arrange for a meeting place and schedule.  Recruit other adults to help you with the team.  It is really nice to have another adult available at times.
  • Read your FIRST LEGO League Coach Handbook.  It has a lot of good information on how to manage your team and your time!
  • Recruit team members; try to include girls and minority students as estimated in the scholarship application.
  • Create a Meeting Plan and make parents/students aware of the ground rules.  Some coaches put this in writing.  It's your decision.
  • Register for  Illinois Qualifierl Tournaments.  Registration opens early August.
  • August 30 - FIRST LEGO League releases the Animal Allies Challenge to the WORLD!
  • September - December
    • Conduct team meetings for at least 90 minutes per week from September until the Qualifier Tournament.  First Task - Assemble the Mission Models from the Field Set-up Kit and choose a Team Name.
    • New teams usually attempt 2 - 4 missions their first year and complete the Project Presentation.
  • November - Practice the Project in front of other people if possible, practice doing your robot runs in 2 1/2 minutes, practice answering judge questions, make up questions from the rubrics in the Coach Handbook.
  • December - Attend the Qualifier Tournament and have a great time!

What is the Qualifier Tournament like?

Illinois Qualifier Tournaments usually have 16 teams participating.  The tournament is divided into 4 Parts.  Each Team is assessed in these areas:

  • Robot Performance - making your robot run on the board and complete its programmed missions in 2 1/2 minute matches.  Points are scored for each mission.
  • Robot Design Interview - meet with a friendly panel of judges who ask your team about their robot and its programming.
  • Project Interview - make your 5-minute Project Presentation in front of another friendly panel of judges and answer questions about your research, solutions and presentation.
  • Core Values Interview - teamwork and Gracious Professionalism are key values of FLL.  The team is asked to do a fun teamwork activity for a panel of judges and answer questions about their season.
  • The Tournament has opening and closing ceremonies, an opportunity to meet other teams, see other robots, experience new things.  Each child receives a participation medal and has the opportunity to compete in a friendly, sports-like tournament with the knowledge that "what is discovered is more important than what is won."
  • Scholarship teams are expected to attend a qualifier tournament.  You are never as ready as you hope to be but it is always worthwhile to attend!


  • ILFIRST/FLL organizes a Yahoo! Group for coaches in Illinois to communicate with each other.
  • FIRST LEGO League provides an online forum for coaches.
  • FLL Q & A webpage.
  • Illinois FIRST website with information and training resources
  • Official FLL Coach information will be sent to your email box by both FIRST and Illinois FIRST.
  • FLL Illinois recruits experienced coaches to reply to questions from rookie coaches.  Make sure you ask for help if you have questions about building, programming or team issues.
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