Getting Started with FIRST LEGO League Explore 

Aug 19, 2021

Along with Challenge Resources released on August 17, 2021, there is a great 'Getting Started with Explore' manual available on the Thinkscape link, accessible through the portal on the Firstinspire.org website. This post is a summary of that manual. 

Basics of FLL Explore

The goal of FLL Explore is the idea of teaching fundamentals of engineering while exploring real-world problems. We want to encourage children to create unique solutions and learn to code and design. The tools used are LEGO bricks powered by LEGO Education WeDo 2.0. It seems you can also use LEGO Mindstorms EV3 sets. As the FLL Explore League is not competitive, there is a good chance the LEGO SPIKE set can also be used.

Working Together

The goal is to have children experience the engineering design process. Besides the team meeting guides outlining the ten sessions, a specific order is not required. Overall, children will explore themes and ideas during a session, create solutions, test them, iterate, change them and share what they learned with others. Children work in a team of up to six and collaborate and communicate. In every session, they should be encouraged to work with teammates, listen to each other, take turns, and share ideas and pieces. The season includes building and developing code for the team model, showcasing the model at the Explore Festival(s), and work as a team.

Getting Started Checklist

Besides having all required materials, make sure to read the Student Engineering Notebook and the Team Meeting Guide before starting the sessions. They will have critical points of walking you through the sessions. Make sure you have a place to work. Think about the final celebration event – in a classroom, or invite children's families? Or attend a festival led by a local partner? Think about the plan for the season – how often during the week will you do it? 

Explore Materials

Materials include:

Coach/Mentor Tips

Team Journey

The team is following more or less the following journey:

Core values

Coding Resources

Setup and get the children familiar with the WeDo 2.0 set and software. If you use EV3 or spike, determine which software you want to use. The children should complete some Getting Started activities in the app to gain experience in building and coding before starting the session. We decided not to dig too much into WeDo 2.0 since we have an EV3 set. The WeDo 2.0 interface is a bit too basic even our team members are at the lower end of the age spectrum. The scratch-based interface is more promising

Summary

You should check out the "Getting Started with First Lego League" guide on your FIRST inspire portal. A lot of the points will repeat in the actual season team guide and engineering notebooks, but the getting started guide gives a great big-picture overview of what to expect.