The FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) is an international annual science and robotics competition for children aged 9-16 (9-14 in the USA). Every year, teams of up to 10 students are faced with a different challenge, based around a real-world theme. Past themes include natural disasters, senior citizens, biomedical engineering, and transport. FLL Teams are required to:

  1. design, build and program an autonomous LEGO robot to compete on a playing field
  2. conduct original research into that year’s theme, identify a problem, and then solve it!
  3. adhere to a set of Core Values that promote good sportsmanship and innovation.

Tournaments are run with the feel of a sporting event, and teams compete like crazy, have the time of their lives, and still find ways to reach out and help each other! All these areas are rigorously tested on Tournament day, awards given out in each area. Championship awards are reserved for teams that are the “complete package”, showing excellence in all areas.

Regardless of the program, Gracious Professionalism® is the driving force behind each FIRST team. The concept takes Good Sportsmanship and takes it a step further:

With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.