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Every year, FIRST LEGO League releases a Challenge, which is based on a real-world scientific topic.

Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Innovation Project, and the Core Values. Teams of up to ten children, with at least two adult coaches, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game), developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by the FIRST Core Values. Teams may then attend an official tournament, hosted by our FIRST LEGO League Partners.

Past Challenges have been based on topics such as nanotechnology, climate, quality of life for the handicapped population, and transportation. By designing our Challenges around such topics, participants are exposed to potential career paths within a chosen Challenge topic, in addition to solidifying the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) principles that naturally come from participating in the program. Team members also learn valuable life and employment skills which will benefit them no matter which career path they choose.

Participation Rules

Like other team activities, FIRST LEGO League has basic ground rules.  Failure to abide by these rules could result in ineligibility for awards at a tournament or other consequences deemed necessary by judges, referees, tournament organizers, FIRST LEGO League partners, Headquarters, or their designated representatives.  Additional rules and awards criteria may be found through the links below. 

General +
  • Teams, coaches and other supporters must demonstrate the Core Values in their actions and activities.
  • Throughout the season, teams need access to the following materials:
    • LEGO® MINDSTORMS Robot Set
    • Computer or tablet with software to program the robot. (Laptop is recommended.)
  • Throughout the season, teams need access to the following season-specific materials:
    • Challenge Set
    • Documents from the season: Engineering Notebook, Team Meeting Guide, and materials posted on the website www.firstlegoleague.org/challenge:
      • Mission Model Build Instructions (released August 1 of Challenge season year)
      • Missions, Rules, Field Setup (released Aug. 1 of Challenge season year)
      • Challenge (released at noon ET on August 1 of the Challenge season year)
Competition Rules +

A competitive team is one playing in a FIRST LEGO League official event. These additional rules apply:

  • A competitive team consists of a minimum of two (2) and a maximum of ten (10) children. Proper adult supervision is required as described in the FIRST Youth Protection Policy.
  • A team must be registered and fully paid in their national registration system to sign up for official events. Additional event fees may apply.
  • Team members are between the minimum and maximum age allowed in their region.**
  • All work presented at an official event is the work of the children on the team.
  • All team members attending an event are required to participate in all three (3) judging sessions, and be present as a team at the Robot Game matches. 

**A Partner may approve an individual’s participation request below or above the age range due to special circumstances or needs 

Awards/Advancement +

A competitive team must meet these additional criteria to be eligible for awards and/or advancement at an official event.

  • Teams are at their first official event of each tournament level for the season. For example, teams are only eligible for awards at the first qualifier they compete in each season.
  • Team members’ work must conform to the parameters and rules outlined in the Challenge and Challenge Guide.
Consequences +

FIRST® gives authority to volunteers staffing FIRST LEGO League official events to interpret and implement the Participation Rules, guided by global FIRST LEGO League training materials.

  • Teams, coaches and supporters at official events are expected to demonstrate the Core Values.
    •  Individuals interfering with, excessively instructing, prompting or heckling a team or volunteer may be asked to leave.
    • Severe infractions of these rules may result in a team’s dismissal from the event. FIRST LEGO League official event volunteers are provided training to identify and respond to these situations (See FIRST Youth Protection Policy).
  • Individuals and/or teams who fail to abide by the Participation Rules may be ineligible for awards at a tournament.

Participation Rules - PDF (updated August 1, 2019)



What if you could build a better world? Where would you begin?

More than ever, we must come together to innovate and solve problems. In FIRST®, you are part of a thriving community brimming with inspiration, creativity, and hope for a stronger, more sustainable future—one that’s built better together. You have the power to help the cities, towns, and places you call home reach new heights. With the support of the FIRST community, this is your opportunity to lead our future forward—and up.

FIRST LEGO League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During the CITY SHAPER season, teams will choose and solve a real-world problem in the Innovation Project. They will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology to solve a set of missions in the Robot Game. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under the FIRST signature set of Core Values, celebrating discovery, teamwork, and Gracious Professionalism®.

CITY SHAPER Challenge and Resources:

Challenge Letter A4
CITY SHAPER Kickoff Video
Mission Model Building Instructions
Challenge Updates - updated 25 November
Game Guide Letter A4
Rubrics Letter A4
Table Building Instructions
Table Overview Letter A4
Event Guide for Teams Letter A4
Low Ink Certificate Letter A4
Color Rich Certificate Letter A4
Score Sheet
Crane Mission Lesson
Crane Mission EV3 Solution
Crane Mission EV3 Program
Crane Mission Guidance - blog post

US & Canada teams - Message regarding the Engineering notebook 


Judging & Awards

FIRST LEGO League is known around the globe not only for what we do (the Robot Game and Innovation Project), but also how we do it, with Core Values at the heart. The rubrics used for judging reflect these three equally important aspects of FIRST LEGO League.

Official tournaments must follow the judging and awards structure determined by FIRST LEGO League. Although the audience mostly sees teams playing the Robot Game at tournaments, teams are also being judged on:

  • Core Values
  • Innovation Project
  • Robot Design

The Core Values Poster and the Robot Design Executive Summary are additional tools that may be used to help facilitate discussion in the Core Values and Robot Design Judging sessions at official events.  Your Partner will distribute the instructions to teams outlining the information to be included if your Region plans to require the Core Values Poster and/or the Robot Design Executive Summary at its events. Please contact your Partner for further information. The Core Values Poster and the Robot Design Executive Summary will be used as part of the judging at World Festival.

Rubrics (updated August 1, 2019)

Award Descriptions

About Judging

  • Teams must participate in all elements of a FIRST LEGO League competition including the Robot Game and all three judged areas in order to be eligible for any Core Award.
  • Judges use the rubrics to help them determine which teams will receive awards.
  • With the exception of the Robot Performance Award, awards are determined by a deliberation process, which is formulated around discussions of team performance in each category.
  • If a team does not exhibit Core Values at a tournament, they may be disqualified from winning any awards – including Robot Performance, no matter how well they scored.
  • Adults are strictly prohibited from directing team members or interfering with the judging process or robot rounds in any way.
  • No team is allowed to win two awards, unless one of the awards is for Robot Performance. Robot Performance is the only category based solely on score.
  • While they may attend other events for fun, teams are only eligible to win awards at the first official event of each qualifying level attended during the season.

Judging FAQ (Updated September 4, 2019)