FLL Challenge:Tournaments

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A FIRST LEGO® League Challenge tournament is a day-long event where teams participate in a judging session and run their robot in three robot performances.


The judging session is a critical part of the FLL Challenge competition. Each team is judged on various categories based on rubrics provided by FIRST. Each judging session runs for 30 minutes and is divided up into the following parts[1]:

  1. Team Welcome - Judges welcome the team (2 minutes)
  2. Innovation Project Presentation - Team describes their innovation project (5 minutes)
  3. Innovation Project Q&A - Judges ask questions related to the team’s project (5 minutes)
  4. Robot Design Explanation - Team describes their robot design strategy and execution (5 minutes)
  5. Robot Design Q&A - Judges ask questions related to the team’s robot (5 minutes)
  6. Core Values Reflection - Team discusses their core values during the season (3 minutes)
  7. Feedback - Judges provide feedback to the team (5 minutes)

Innovation Project

Each season, FIRST releases a theme based on a real-world industry. For the Innovation Project, teams are asked to identify a problem within the theme, do research on their problem, and propose a solution. At the competition, the team is given 5 minutes to present their problem and solution and then judges can ask questions for another 5 minutes.

Robot Design

During the Robot Design portion of judging, teams discuss their robot design strategy and programming, explain why certain decisions were made, and describe how their robot and attachments evolved. They also go through their programs to talk about how they developed their programs and how they work. Judges are looking for creative solutions and the robustness of the design.

Core Values

The Core Values of FIRST are Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork, and Fun. The Core Values judge will mostly determine a team’s core values while watching them during the Innovation Project and Robot Design judging but may ask a few questions during the Core Values Reflection portion of the judging session. Teams should also know what Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition are and how they exemplify them.

Robot Performance (The Game)

During the competition, teams will be given three opportunities to run their robot in The Game. Only the best score out of the three runs will be taken into consideration, along with the judging results, to determine a final score.


The following awards are given at each tournament (award descriptions provided by FIRST)[2]:

  • Champion’s Award - This award celebrates a team that embodies the FIRST LEGO® League Challenge experience, by fully embracing our Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in Robot Performance, Robot Design and the Innovation Project.
  • Core Values Award - This team displays extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit, knows they can accomplish more together than they could as individuals, and shows each other and other teams respect at all times.
  • Innovation Project Award - This team utilizes diverse resources for their Innovation Project to help them gain a comprehensive understanding of their problem, have a creative, well-researched solution, and effectively communicate their findings to judges and the community.
  • Robot Design Award - This team uses outstanding programming principles and solid engineering practices to develop a robot that is mechanically sound, durable, efficient, and highly capable of performing challenging missions.
  • Robot Performance Award - This award celebrates a team that scores the most points during the Robot Game.
  • Coach/Mentor Award - This award goes to the coach or mentor whose leadership and guidance is clearly evident and best exemplifies the FIRST Core Values.
Optional Awards
  • Breakthrough Award - This award celebrates a team that made significant progress in their confidence and capability in both the Robot Game and Innovation Project and is a shining example of excellent Core Values.
  • Engineering Excellence Award - This award celebrates a team with an efficiently designed robot, an innovative project solution that effectively addresses the season challenge, and great Core Values evident in all they do.
  • Rising All-Star Award - This award celebrates a team that the judges notice and expect great things from in the future.
  • Motivate Award - This award celebrates a team that embraces the culture of FIRST LEGO® League through team building, team spirit, and displayed enthusiasm.


A team's overall score during the tournament is determined by the following:

Category % of score Source
Innovation Project 25% determined from the judging session
Robot Design 25% determined from the judging session
Core Values 25% determined from the judging session
Robot Performance 25% only the top score of the 3 robot performance runs is counted

Due to the varying number of teams in the FIRST regions, the number of teams that advance to each level and the number of levels is determined by the FIRST partner in each region. Please contact your local FIRST partner for more information on tournament advancement.


  • Bring games or other activities that team members can do with each other during downtimes because there could be a significant amount of it. Teams playing games together will be looked upon more favorably than kids all on separate devices.
  • Keep in mind that judges and volunteers are always watching, and poor core values outside of judging or robot performances can be taken into consideration.
  • Plan on attending the competition even if the team isn’t ready. The students work hard during the season and they should have the opportunity to show off their work. It is also a good experience for them to attend so that they know what a tournament is like in case they decide to do it in the following years.

What To Bring To The Tournament

Here is a list of items that teams should bring to a tournament. Please contact your local FLL partner for more specific information on tournaments.

Things to Do Before the Tournament:

  • Upload documents for the tournament (Check with a local partner to know specifics)
  • Plan how everyone is getting to the tournament
  • Plan what team members should wear (ie: team shirts)

What to Bring:

  • Robot
  • Attachments
  • Attachments that didn’t work (To explain how you improved them)
  • Extra Legos
  • Innovation Project Model
  • Extra Batteries
  • Something to easily transport the robot and attachments
  • Laptop
  • Charger
  • Presentation Supplies
  • Prototypes
  • Designs
  • Engineering Notebook
  • Skit Supplies
  • Snacks
  • Games (something to do as a team during downtimes)

Additional Resources


  1. "FLL Challenge Judging Session" (pdf). firstinspires.org. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  2. "FLL Challenge Awards" (PDF). firstinspires.org. Retrieved 1 July 2021.