So you're thinking about starting an FLL Jr team.  Here are some FAQs and answers.  If you have other questions, comments, or corrections, please get in touch!  --Cathy Sarisky

  1. How is FLL Jr different from FLL?
    (See also:  Choosing between FLL and FLL Jr.)  
    Competition vs Expo:  One of the big differences between FLL and FLL Jr that can't be over-emphasized is that FLL is competitive, and Jr is not.  In FLL Jr, if the kids show up, they'll get celebrated. Everyone gets a certificate and/or medal, and everyone's a winner. If the kids follow the directions and do everything they're supposed to do, great. If they don't, still great. Reviewers will celebrate whatever they did. Last year, one of my JR teams really wanted to do a project, like their older sibs in FLL. So they did. There wasn't anything like that anywhere in the directions, but the reviewers had a nice conversation with them about it, and it was all good. JR coaches can take whatever excites the kids and run with it, and it'll be all good. FLL coaches should absolutely try to get the kids working on stuff they're excited about, but there are a lot of deliverables, and they matter.
  2. What do we buy?
    • You need to register on FirstInspires, just like you would for an FLL team.  The $99 registration fee (US numbers) includes the "Inspires" set (a model all teams build, plus lots of extra parts), coach's manual, workbooks for the kids, etc.
    • You need a WeDo 2.0 (or original WeDo 1, but the rest of the directions assume a WeDo 2).  The cheapest way in the US is to register a team and then buy it through the "Order product" link on the FirstInspires dashboard.  You'll save $10 compared to buying from LEGO Education.  The WeDo 2.0 kit is $179.95 (plus shipping) through FirstInspires.  They also offer a bundle with the rechargeable battery pack and charger (for 269.95), but the WeDo 2.0 can go quite a while (sometimes all season!) with two AA batteries, so it may not make sense to buy the battery pack kit  The battery pack is certainly more convenient, but $90 per kit for convenience?  I didn't buy it.
    • You need a tablet (or laptop) capable of connecting to the WeDo 2.0.  Most iPads work.  So do many Android tablets, or Kindle Fires with a little work.  Here's the official compatibility list.  And here's a longer unofficial list of Android tablets thanks to the Wedo 2.0 Community on Facebook.
    • Your regional organization will also collect a registration fee for the Expo.  In my region (VA/DC), that's $50 per team and covers a medal for each team member and a certificate for each team.
  3. What curriculum/planning support is there?
    The Inspire set will ship with a full curriculum for FLL Jr, with 12 sessions.  The sessions are nominally an hour long, but you could easily rearrange to accommodate longer meetings (if your kids can handle them - mine can't) or more meetings.  The WeDo 2.0 app also has a whole curriculum built in (and you can find the teacher's guide online).
  4. How long should we meet?  How many times?
    You could very easily run a year of FLL Jr if you did the WeDo lessons, took some field trips or had some visitors, read some books as a group, and so on. Or you could do a fast twelve weeks, or six weeks if you met twice a week.  Since the deliverables are minimal, you can do whatever fits your schedule.  I wouldn't try to do it in less than twelve hour-long sessions.  If you're going to extend the season, doing the WeDo projects early (before parts of your WeDo are built into the team model) likely makes the most sense.
  5. What's in the season pass?
    The season passes are for organizations that will run a lot of teams and will do their own "in house" Expo(s).  The "small" season pass includes:
    • Instructions to host your own Expo.  (Teams can't register for the official Expos, although you'll want to confirm that with your regional organization.)
    • Challenge Season Kit included (18 Inspire Sets, 24 Team Meeting Guides, 2 Program Administrator Guides, 144 Engineering Notebooks).  NOTE: you need an inspire set per team per Expo.  You need an engineering notebook per team member.
    • Rights to use products to run multiple sessions

To learn more about starting teams, visit our Team Basics section.

See also the presentation I gave to teachers on teaching with WeDo / FLL Jr for more information and helpful links.