July 29, 2020

1. Will there be an FLL season 2020-21??
FIRST is working on an online platform for team meetings and tournaments. This means that whatever COVID 19 – restrictions may be in place at any time during the season, we will still be able to hold meetings and events. 
Maybe some events will be held “as usual” and others held “remotely”, and maybe we will have some “part in-person and part remote” events (for example in Challenge we might have have regular robot runs but remote judging interviews). Maybe each event will have fewer teams, to allow for more physical distance. Team meetings may have to be re-organized, too. Maybe you have to designate just one person as the builder; or do extra cleaning, or only touch the robot / model / computer and the LEGO every few days, or…
But whatever – we’ll have teams and events, and I am looking forward to them!

2. New season topic
As last year, the season has a common topic for all FIRST programs – it is called “Game Changers”. For FLL Challenge, the game is called “RePlay”; for FLL Explore it is called “PLAYMAKERS”. The Challenge Reveal will be on August 4.
If you go here https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/challenge-and-season-info and then click on FIRST Game Changers Content and scroll to FLL there is a short video.

3. Team registration
Team registration is open; you just need to go to your FIRSTInspires dashboard to register for the new season (and to sign your consent form etc.). 

4. FLL re-branding
FLL has been “re-branded” in May 2020. Instead of two programs with LEGO in the name – FLL and FLLJr., plus FLLJr.’s associated program “FLLJr. Discovery Edition” –  FIRST now just has FLL, and FLL has three “divisions”.What used to be called FLL is now “FLL Challenge”, FLLJr. is now “FLL Explore” and FLLJr. Discovery Edition is now “FLL Discover”. The names have changed, but the activities have not.

5. FLL Showcase
FIRST has launched the “FLL Showcase”. This is an online platform for all City Shaper and Boomtown Build season FLL teams. The teams will be able to share some of their work within the FLL community and on the FIRSTInspires site. It would be fun to see some content there from BC teams! Invitation have been sent to the coaches.
The FLL showcase is for teams registered for the City Shaper or Boomtown Build season only. However the way “remote” events may be run next season may build on the experience with the showcase. It may be quite useful for the teams to try out this showcase.
Some teams have already posted things. FIRST LEGO League Showcase is available for public viewing at showcase.firstlegoleague.org

8. Global Innovation Awards
On Saturday June 27, at 11am Eastern Time, the Global Innovation Awards were presented. Have a look here: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/global-innovation

This page also includes a list of previous winners and their inventions, with some really neat ideas.

7. Volunteers
Last season we had 75 Challenge and 49 Explore teams, a new all-time record for BC! (And two more Challenge teams registered as “non-competitive” later in the season.) It was great, too, that our teams were from all over BC, and COVID or not, hopefully this trend will continue. In fact “remote” events may make participation easier for teams from remote locations.
All events need volunteers! If you can help organize an event in your area, please reach out and let me know. I am planning for qualifiers in Victoria and Vancouver and also in northern and central BC, and maybe in southeastern BC as well. Each tournament needs a tournament director, and the tournament director needs helpers to take on specific tasks (like team communication, the venue, food, ….). 

8.  First Lego League video
Have you seen this video, “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work”?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XtUlQULRvA (or just search for “Youtube FLL song”)

Looking forward to the Game Changers season!

Uschi (Ursula) Leslie
FIRST FLL Partner for BC