The Unofficial Guide
by James Floyd Kelly and Jonathan Daudelin
August 2008, 264 pp.

FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) is an international program for kids ages 9 to 14 that combines a hands-on, interactive robotics program and research presentation with a sports-like atmosphere. Authors James Floyd Kelly and Jonathan Daudelin—both participants in numerous FIRST LEGO League competitions—have teamed up to bring coaches, teachers, parents, and students an all-in-one guide to FLL.

Written for both rookie and experienced teams, FIRST LEGO League: The Unofficial Guide includes in-depth coverage of topics like team formation and organization, robot building and programming, and the basics of getting involved with FLL. Before the authors delve into the specifics of robot and team building, they reveal the fascinating history of the FIRST organization and the sometimes puzzling structure of the FLL competition. Using a combination of real-life stories and candid commentary from actual FLL teams, as well as recollections of their own experiences, they offer an abundance of helpful guidance and dependable building and programming examples.

FIRST LEGO League: The Unofficial Guide explores the complex workings and structure of the FLL competition, including its four key components: Robot Game, Technical Interview, Project, and Teamwork. You’ll learn how to:

  • Organize, recruit, and manage a team
  • Find equipment, mentors, and funding
  • Design, build, and program winning robots
  • Tackle each of the four FLL components—from Robot Game to Teamwork
  • Use strategies and techniques from FLL masters to increase your scores

No matter what your role in the FLL competition, FIRST LEGO League: The Unofficial Guide will make you a better competitor, builder, designer, and team member. The only ingredient you need to add is your competitive spirit!

Author Bio 

James Floyd Kelly has participated in numerous FLL tournaments as both a referee and a technical judge. In 2006, he founded The NXT Step blog, widely considered the top LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT resource on the Web.

Jonathan Daudelin has been competing in FLL since age 13. In 2007, his team won the First Place Robot Performance and First Place Innovative Robot awards at the World Festival after their robot achieved perfect scores in all three rounds.

Table of contents 


Chapter 1: What is FIRST LEGO League?
Chapter 2: How FLL Works
Chapter 3: Guidelines and Rules
Chapter 4: Finding Equipment, Mentors, and Funding
Chapter 5: Starting or Building a Team
Chapter 6: Managing Your Team
Chapter 7: The Team Experience
Chapter 8: Coaching a Team
Chapter 9: NXT vs. RIS
Chapter 10: Basic Building
Chapter 11: Building Techniques for the Robot Game
Chapter 12: Sensors
Chapter 13: Getting Organized for Programming
Chapter 14: NXT-G Programming Concepts
Chapter 15: The Project
Chapter 16: Tournaments and Beyond

About the Authors

View the detailed Table of Contents (PDF)
View the Index (PDF)


"FIRST LEGO League is a great book if you're involved in FIRST LEGO League or if you want to start your own from the beginning stages of organizing and finding help to going to tournaments and what to expect."
Jeff Gedgaud, Associated Content (Read More)

"If you have not heard about FIRST or the FIRST LEGO League competition, or someone just dropped the idea on you, this is the book for you. Even if you have no clue what LEGO Mindstorms, robotics, or FIRST are, this book will explain it all to you. Even those already involved will be able to pick up a tip or two."
William Wong, Electronic Design (Read More)

"The Lego league guide treats young readers with respect, with chapters that will help them develop their organizational and leadership skills." (Read More)

"As a LEGO NXT robotics instructor, I highly recommend this book to FIRST LEGO teams; and for those thinking about getting involved in the FLL."
The Robotic Realm Blog (Read More)