Getting started with FLL Jr

Getting started with FLL Jr (Copenhaver workshop materials, June 2019)

By Cathy Sarisky

What you need:
2-6 kids (1st-4th grade), 2 coaches
A WeDo 2.0 robot set (or original WeDo 1.0) per team.
A way to program the WeDo 2.0. A tablet with Bluetooth (Android or iOS) works, as does a computer with Bluetooth.

Costs (per team per year):
Registration: $100 (national) + $50 (VA/DC state – for an Expo).
Class packs or School packs can be a good value if you’re running lots of teams and will host your own Expo/Showcase.
T-shirts/hats if wanted (varies)
Office supplies, etc: $10-50

Start-up costs (per team, once)
WeDo 2.0: $190 (buy through FIRST or through LEGO Education)
Two rechargeable AA batteries ($5) and a good charger (~$30). Buy pre-charged rechargeable 2000mAh batteries and you probably won’t need to recharge all season. Or buy the battery pack and charging cord ($90).
Extra Legos (variable, OK to go without).
15’x15’ baseplate ($15 each) or two to help keep models together. (Optional)
Tablet or computer. I’m a big fan of 8” Kindle Fire tablets (~$60 on Amazon Warehouse), but if you have iPads or something already, great!

Challenge released August 1 (register in May-July if possible)
You choose the schedule! Many teams meet weekly.
Expos throughout the year, mostly in Spring.

Curriculum for FLL Jr:
Full curriculum – includes a coach’s handbook and student workbooks for twelve 1-1.5 hour meetings, ships to registered teams in early August.
The workbooks are a bit light on content. Many sessions could be improved by adding a book or video to the session (FIRST usually provides some recommendations) or by assigning some research as homework. You have the flexibility to adapt the material as best suits your team(s).
Standards alignment:

Other WeDo curricula and lessons (not specifically for FLL Jr):
Built into the WeDo 2.0 app (access on the tablet)! (includes standards alignment and overview of built-in lessons)

How to fund it:
FIRST DonorsChoose (restricted to teachers) -
Ask local sponsors: businesses, community groups, etc
FIRST grants (diversity & equity): (NOI likely to be due in early November)
Ask parents/school/PTA to contribute
Check in with your local FRC/FTC team (if any) – they may have funds to sponsor!
Blacksburg/Roanoke: (Note: costs outdated but kit availability confirmed for 2019.)
More information from Lego Education:

Other advice:
FLL Jr is non-competitive. Follow the curriculum and the guidelines as much as suits you, but if your team wants to deviate from the guidelines, no big deal. If they’re excited about learning something, run with it! [This is very different from FIRST LEGO League.]
Expos are non-competitive. Reviewers (like judges, but not judging) will visit each team and ask questions. Awesome reviewers (and they’re almost always awesome) will ask the kids about their learning and have a positive conversation about whatever the team has done, regardless of whether it perfectly follows the guidelines.
Large teams can’t all work on the same thing at once. Plan together the work together, then split up into pairs/threes to build/program/research/brainstorm/write/draw/assemble posters/etc.
Have fun!

Where to get help:
FLL Jr Share and Learn (on Facebook)
No teams nearby? Need a mentor? Find one here!
FIRST training:
Online WeDo course:
Need local help? Ask me! Cathy Sarisky: / 540-375-2438