Updates on training, Kickoff, Competition schedule and more.
Florida FIRST LEGO League
The Challenge will be released Tuesday at noon EDT!
In this email:
  1. Register for Kickoff
  2. Rechargeable Battery Problem
  3. Preliminary Qual Tournament Schedule
  4. Upcoming Events
  5. Email Distribution List
  6. Is the Team Ready?
  7. Tips for Teams and Coaches
1.  Register for Florida FLL Kickoff Now -- The ordering date for polo shirts has been changed by my shirt supplier so in order to get a coach shirt, you have to register your team for Kickoff by noon on Wed, Aug 28.  After that, you can still register to attend, but won't get the free polo shirt.  Registration and full details about this free event being held on Sept 7 in Melbourne are online at 
2. Rechargeable battery problem:  Some of the new EV3 batteries have a circuit problem.  Read the details here and check your batteries now.  LEGO Education will be replacing them (you have to send them yours) but rumor has it that it will be about 6 weeks.  Not all the batteries have the problem.  (30% of ours failed.)  We have also been told that they will replace failed NXT rechargeable batteries as well.  (I plan to test this since we have 5 failed NXT batteries on hand.) In both cases you will have to call LEGO Education Tech Support for information on shipping the batteries back at 866-349-4356 to get replacements. 
3. Preliminary tournament schedule -- Coming Soon:  We will post the Preliminary Qualifying Tournament Schedule on the web on September 1.  We will be continuing to update the schedule until as new tournaments are added.  Registration for Qualifying Tournaments will open on October 1.  All tournament information can be found on the Tournaments page on the Florida FLL website:  This website lists the "rules" for registering for a Qualifying Tournament now.
4. Latest update on Upcoming Events  -- check the website for details:  Note that all of the Open Practices have limited space so if you want to attend, register early.  (Note that these are building and practice days -- you don't have to feel like you may not be "ready".  If you have a team and a robot kit, you're ready for an Open Practice.
  • Panhandle Gear Up -- Sept 14 at Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida, Panama City.  Program will include Speakers on Natural Disaster subjects, a review of the missions and rules and an opportunity to meet with a panel to review your research project approach.
  • Cocoa Beach Space Coast Robotics Day -- Saturday, Oct 5 at Roosevelt Elementary School.  Events for FRC, FTC and FLL Open Practice.  Training for Ref's, Judges and more to come.
  • Tampa -- Tune it up Tampa:  Saturday, Oct 12 at Middleton High School -- an Open Practice and workshops for Teams, Coaches, Judges and Tournament Directors
  • Coral Springs Open Practice -- Saturday, Oct 23 at Ramblewood Elementary School
  • Rockledge -- Saturday, Oct 26, Kennedy Middle School Pre-Halloween Open Practice
  • Tampa Robocon -- Sat/Sun, Oct 26-27 at University of Tampa -- Events for FRC, FTC and an Open Practice for FLL.   No coach or FLL team training.  No charge.
  • Boynton Beach Open Practice -- information coming soon.
5. Email Distribution List:  Right now, we are distributing these emails to both new and old coaches and other contacts.  When FLL Registration Closes, I will change distribution lists to only email to coaches and assistant coaches that are included on the team's registration in the FLL Registration system.  If your team was registered by someone other than the coach, please check the FLL Registration System to be sure you are listed as the coach.  Once you are dropped from distribution, it will be up to you to check our website for updates.  Tournament registration will also only be accepted from coaches or assistant coaches.  Another reason to add someone as an assistant coach is in case our emails end up in your Spam folder.  Email is our primary communication tool so be sure yours is correct.
6. When is the team ready?  We often hear from 2nd year coaches that they didn't take their team to a competition because they weren't ready.  FLL is a learning experience and taking the team to a competition is part of that experience.  If you are a new coach, I suggest you select a tournament that is close to you later in the season -- late December or January but register for the tournament early.  (We expect some of the tournaments to fill up in the first few days of October and all of the popular tournaments will fill when we open registration for the second Qualifying tournament on Oct. 15.)  Then take the team to an open practice if one is available in your area.  This gives the team an opportunity to see other teams, realize they aren't any worse off than the others, learn from them and go back enthused about working on their robots and research projects.  
7. Tips for Teams and Coaches:
Team Building Activities:  At our recent Coach Training Workshop, on question was about Team Building Activities.  One source is on TechBrick: 
LEGO Building Tip of the Week:  Check out this list of Awesome Parts that can help you win FLL tournaments.  There are tips on what to use them for and where to get them.
EV3 Tips of the Week --
  •       If you get the EV3 through your FIRST registration you have a team license good for up to 10 computers.
  •       When you get your EV3, it needs to have a firmware update to be compatible with the EV3 software.  You do not need an internet connection to do this (even though it says you do in the User's Guide."  You will get a message on you monitor telling you that a firmware update is required when you connect your EV3 to your laptop.  If you just close out the message, it looks like everything is working fine until you download and try to run a program.  Then the EV3 gets hung up displaying a message "program".   If you get the "firmware update required message", go to the Tools menu (while you have a program open) and select UPDATE FIRMWARE.  This will take several minutes to accomplish.
  •      Need more tutorial info on the software than provided by LEGO?  Check out the Flying Penguins tutorials on YouTube  an FLL team from Ohio.
  Laura & Judy
August 27 - Challenge released by FIRST
September 7 - Florida FLL Kickoff - Melbourne
October 1-31 Open Practices (Check the website for details)
October 1 - Registration for Qual Tournaments Opens
October 15 - Registration for 2nd Qual Tourn Opens
November 9 - December 7 - Early Qual Tournaments
December 14 - January 18 - Late Qual Tournaments
Feb 1 & 8 - Regional Tournaments
March 2 - Florida State Championship (Tentative)

For details on the above events, check our website at
Contacts:  Laura Melnik   Judy Kersey
Florida FLL Website:   
FLL Registration:
Upcoming Events:
Florida FLL Grants:
FLL Challenge:
Field Setup Instructions:
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