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General NCaFLL Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about competitions, tournaments

Questions about the coaching, challenge, ordering equipment or team registration:   Ask question


If you still have an unanswered question, check out the NCaFLL website, read past messages on the yahoogroup at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NCaFLL, read the National FLL team forum, or send an email to fll@playingatlearning.org

How do I find a team?
  • In general, most teams get formed by a parent or teacher and that person either becomes the coach and/or recruit others to co-coach
  • Playing At Learning is not in a position to coordinate team formation in your area
  • We do allow posts to the ncafll yahoogroup from those looking for a team and from those looking to add to their existing team
  • We encourage robotics club in your area to get started to help provide a better experience for all and help with team formation and support. There are a few existing examples including school-based clubs in Fremont [Chadbourne and Hopkins] and a community-based club in Los Altos
  • Coaching a FLL team is not difficult and does not require specialized knowledge, but it does take time and patience. We offer coaches training on an "as needed" basis.


How do I complete the team profile if my team list is not finalized?
  • To be eligible to complete in FLL, every team must complete the team profile on the register4fll.com site
  • The team profile does not ask for team member names but instead is really focused on finalizing coach contact and institution information
  • If the team is a community-based team (not affiliated with an institution), please go ahead and fill in the information for where the team is located or where the team meets. This information is used just for statistics and not individually.
How do I assemble the field missions?
  • The box should contain a CD that has all of the building instructions on it
  • The instructions are in individual PDF files - hundreds of pages total and in color.
  • If you really did not get a CD, please send email to fllhelp@pitsco.com or contact the LEGO Educational Division Customer Service number is 800-362-4308


I have questions about this year's challenge - where do I go?
  • Each year, there is an official challenge Q&A page. [link is valid only during the season.]
  • For official answers not in the rules, missions or Q&A, contact FIRST.
  • If your question is specific to Northern California, contact the tournament partner, Playing At Learning.


How do I find out the details about this year's (or any of the past years) challenge?
  • All FLL challenge details are available on the FIRST LEGO League website. Note that the current year's challenge details are announced in mid-September.


How do I find out how my team will be judged?
  • After you register a team and payment is received, you will receive a hard copy of your FLL Coaches' Handbook. It is important that you review it carefully each year.
  • In general, teams should expect that equal weight is given to the 4 judging areas: teamwork, technical judging, project judging, and robot performance.


What do we do if some of our challenge field parts are missing or damaged?


Where do we find Guides for coaching FLL teams?


Are local training workshops available for FLL Coaches and Mentors?
  • Playing At Learning is expecting to hold workshops each Fall to review challenge details and answer questions. Additional workshops can be scheduled upon request/need.
  • Occasionally FLL Coach/Mentor Workshops are offered in Northern California by other groups/individuals/businesses. These will be posted on the ncafll yahoogroup


How do teams register for FIRST LEGO League? When is the registration deadline for this season?
  • To register one or more FLL teams, visit the team registration page off of the FIRST website.
  • Registration is open between early May to mid/late September. Note that there is a maximum number of teams and the 2008 limit is ~7,800 teams for US and Canada.
  • Registration will close when the maximum limit is reached or no later than the end of September.


How do I update our team profile, including the email address for receiving important announcements?
  • During the open enrollment time, you can update your FLL team profile by visiting the team registration page
  • In the past, some coaches had a problem in updating team profiles. One solution was to reset the browser web cookies for the register4fll site.
  • Important: To receive information specific to Northern California FLL, make sure you are subscribed to the NCaFLL Yahoo Groups email list.
  • If you change your email address in the FLL team profile, also update your NCaFLL subscription
  • To join or update your NCaFLL subscription, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NCaFLL


Does it matter how much the coaches, mentors and parents help the kids on their robot and presentation?
  • All FLL activity should be completely done by the team members.
  • This includes all work on the design, construction and programming of the team's robot, as well as all of the research and presentation of the research project.
  • Work or direct instruction on the challenge must NOT be done by any of the coaches, mentors, parents or other adults.
  • It is important to follow the guidelines in the coaches' handbook about coaches providing facilitation and guidance for the kids, but not working directly on the content of the project.
  • Do not jeopardize your team's chances of an award by helping them inappropriately.
  • Teams can be disqualified from advancing and/or winning an award if the judges deem that the team has had inappropriate adult intervention/help/assistance and/or if the team does not demonstrate all aspects of the FLL program.
  • The full benefit of FLL occurs when kids can feel a sense of accomplishment from knowing that their FLL efforts come 100% from their own minds and hands. This feeling of accomplishment and empowerment is what FLL is all about.
  • Something to consider: We have been told that, in general, team members that had too much parent or adult "help" have tended to not only drop out of FLL (and similar programs), but also then express a negative attitude towards careers in technology/engineering in general. This means that although the team may have one "accomplished" year, the long term effect on individuals is pretty dismal.
  • We know that many of you are already inspired / excited about engineering and science as many of our adults/coaches/mentors are working engineers and scientists. Help give that sense of accomplishment to the next generation by enabling them to prove to themselves that they are capable. By showing them answers and directly intervening, you are proving to them that they are not capable of coming up with good engineering solutions. Think about it!


How can I help or volunteer ?
  • All tournaments need help - time (planning, day of volunteering, and cleanup), and money are the big ways to help. There are many small ways to help as well. Playing At Learning can put you in contact with all of the tournament directors.
  • If you want to help with planning, please contact us soon. Planning meetings for some tournaments have already started.
  • Help with volunteering at a tournament or similar.


Are FLL teams allowed to use LEGO parts other than those that are included with the FLL Robot Set? What is the allowed parts list?
As in previous seasons, for this season, there will be almost no restrictions on the LEGO parts allowed in the construction of an FLL challenge robot, except for a limit on electrical parts. Consult the rules in your FLL Coaches' Handbook and/or the FLL Rules for more details. .


How do I make a donation to directly support the Northern California FLL program and/or Tournament(s)?
You can donate money for all tournaments or a specific tournament, such as the NCaFLL Championship tournament. Via paypal, just specify your donation on the "Payment For" portion of the form. Via check or money order, specify your donation on the Memo section of the check.


Can we bring more than 3 motors or 2 controllers (RCX / NXT) to the competition area?
No. Please carefully read your FLL Coaches' Handbook, the challenge details, the FLL Rules and the FAQ section.


I need to help my team during their pit time at a tournament. Do I need a consent form?
Yes. Please read your Coaches' Handbook. You may not participate without this completed form.


Are T-Shirts available? YES!   We have several Cafepress stores with different designs
  • Also custom Northern California T-Shirts will be sold this year.  All money raised will directly support the Northern California FLL program.


How can we contact other local FLL coaches?
  • If you are a member of the NCaFLL yahoogroup, you can send an email to NCaFLL@yahoogroups.com if you have an announcement or request you want other Northern California FLL coaches to see.
  • Also look on the FLL Forum web site which opens typically in September for the season.  Find the Northern California discussion folder.  Use can use the discussion forum for contact other teams and coaches. 


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Last Updated: 05/05/2009 7:01 PM