Welcome to FIRST LEGO League Explore!   In FIRST LEGO League Explore, teams are student driven and we teach students to work together on teams to research and solve problems.  The true success of the program comes from the process: teaching students to solve problems through Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition.  

This remainder of this section describes the ethos behind FIRST LEGO League Explore and the governing participation rules for the program.

Participation Rules

Below are the official participation rules as described by FIRST, edited where appropriate to match our implementation in Central California. 


  • 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:
    • Items that are provided when a team registers with FIRST.
      • Inspire Set - This LEGO set is created just for FIRST LEGO League Explore teams and will be used by them to complete their challenge for the season. The Inspire Set includes 700+ LEGO elements, including those needed to create the exclusive Inspire Model. 
      • Challenge Document -  This one page document quickly outlines the yearly challenge.  This can be accessed online by everyone regardless of which option you choose.
      • Engineering Notebooks - These notebooks are printed and shipped to teams. They complement the Team Meeting guide and are used to guide team members through the season.
      • Team Meeting Guide - This is a guide for coaches that gives complete instructions on how to administer the FIRST LEGO League Explore program. It outlines 12 sessions providing 12-16 hours of guided activities for
    • Items that are arranged or purchased by the teams separately
      • WeDo 2.0 - A LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 kit is needed by the teams to build and program the motorized model(s).
      • Additional LEGO elements - Teams may need to purchase additional LEGO kits or accessories as necessary for the model.

Season Life cycle for a team

  • Season Begins
  • Team formation and Coach assignments
  • Registration
  • Team meeting sessions (including preparations for expo participation)
  • Register and attend one or more expo events
  • Season ends

Expo Rules

Following rules apply to any teams that participate in a FIRST LEGO League Explore official expo event:

  • A team consists of 2 or more adult coaches and up to 6 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 expo events. Additional event fees may apply. 
  • Children are between the ages of 6-10.  Central Valley Robotics can approve members outside the specified range on a case by case basis.  
  • All work presented at an official event is the work of the children on the team. Coaches are meant to provide direction and guidance to the children.
  • All team members attending an event are required to do all of the following:
    • Present a ShowMe poster
    • Demonstrate a model including a motorized part
    • Attend a review session

Expo Awards

FIRST LEGO League Explore  is not a competitive program. It is a journey where inquisitive and curious children learn about something new and their journey of learning is celebrated In the expo event, The work done by all participating teams are reviewed and a suitable award is given to each team to recognize their effort and to inspire them to continue their journey to the next level which is FIRST Lego League.  Each team that participates in an official expo event and fulfills the expo rules requirements is eligible to receive an award.

More details about Central Valley Robotics' expo awards can be found in Festival Awards.


FIRST® gives authority to volunteers staffing FIRST LEGO League Explore Official Expo events to interpret and implement the Participation Rules, guided by global FIRST LEGO League Explore 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 Explore 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 expo event.

More details about Central Valley Robotics' process can be found in Appendix 1 - Core Values Concerns and the Handling Process.

FIRST Values

Gracious Professionalism®

Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST Distinguished Advisor and Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coined the term "Gracious Professionalism ®."

Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It's a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.

In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.


Coopertition® produces innovation. At FIRSTCoopertition is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete.

Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from Mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.

FIRST Core Values

We express the FIRST® philosophies of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® through our Core Values:

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
  • Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
  • Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

Getting Started Season Checklist 

Pre-Season Preparation

  • Register your team with FIRST LEGO League Explore (details in this section: Starting the Season - Registering with FIRST ).

  • Pay your registration fee and order the materials you need.

  • Provide a valid email address when you register, and check that inbox often throughout the season for information from FIRST LEGO League Explore and Central Valley Robotics.

  • Review the FIRST Core Values (above).

  • Decide how team members (coaches and children) will be identified or selected

  • Identify at least 1 computer your team may use (must have internet access).

  • Install WeDo 2.0  programming software on the computer(s) your team will use.

  • Begin reading the rest of the Season Standards Manual to learn about our local event structure and processes.

Begin Meeting with Your Team

  • Check  your email!

  • Review the challenge materials that you receive from FIRST after registration.

  • Create a meeting schedule

  • Review the FIRST Core Values with parents and team members (and keep discussing them at each meeting!).

  • Set up a work area for meetings and storage area for program materials between meetings.

  • Have team members begin researching this year’s Challenge theme to get a  head start on the Project.

After Challenge Release (August 1)

  • Check your email regularly for communication from FIRST LEGO League Explore and Central Valley Robotics.

  • Review  the Challenge from Challenge Materials and Resources and review it as a team.

  • Download the Inspire Model building instructions at Challenge Materials and Resources and build the Inspire Model from your Inspire Set.

  • Arrange for research activities and field trips as necessary.

  • Have team members begin brainstorming ideas for innovative solutions.

  • Have team members begin working on ShowMe poster  to demonstrate their solution for the challenge .

  • Have team members begin designingbuilding models  to demonstrate their solution for the challenge .

  • Submit paperwork to Central Valley Robotics (details in this section: Managing Your Team Roster and Uploading Forms)

  • Register for an official expo event. (Details here: Festival Registration Policies)

  • Prepare the team for the expo day.

  • Attend one or more expo event(s)
  • Make a plan to celebrate at the end of your season.

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