2023-24 FIRST LEGO League Season

Have an incoming CUSD 4th-8th grader interested in joining a CEF FLL Robotics team next year?

Required Actions

  • Join us for our virtual information meeting on May 2 at 7:00pm.
  • Submit an online application, available on CEF’s website.
  • Register for a Beginning LEGO® Robotics summer enrichment camp (new students only).


FIRST LEGO League Robotics


FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robotics is the most accessible, guided, global robotics competition, helping students and teachers to build a better future together. The program is built around theme-based Challenges to engage students in research, problem solving, coding, and engineering. The foundation of the program is the FIRST Core Values, which emphasize teamwork, discovery, and innovation. Students emerge more confident, excited, and equipped with the skills they need in a changing workforce.
From FIRST Inspires 

What’s It Like to Participate?

Guided by adult coaches, FIRST LEGO League Robotics teams are given a FIRST challenge each season. Working together, CUSD students 4th-8th grade must identify a real-world problem related to the annual theme and are challenged to develop a solution.

Students design, build and program a robot using LEGO® SPIKE, then put the robot to the test to complete challenges on a table-top playing field.

The robotics seasons add up to tons of fun while students apply STEM concepts and imagination to solve a problem. Along their journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges.

2023-24 FLL Season FAQ

Is there an informational meeting for the 23-24 season?

The virtual information meeting for the 23-24 season will be May 2nd at 7pm. View the informational slides here. 


How does my student apply to participate in the program?

To participate in the 2023-24 FLL season, students must attend a CUSD school and families must complete a digital application (coming soon!). Once the application has been submitted, coach/teacher recommendation forms will be sent out. Following, teams will be formed and families notified of their assigned team. Families will register and pay their donation once teams have been assigned.

What are the two different tracks for robotics?

We will be offering an Elementary and Middle School track for the 23-24 FLL season. 




1X: Elementary School

2X: Middle School


End Aug. – Feb. (est)

Mid July – Feb. (est)

Time Commitment

  • 1 practice/ week x 2 hours
  • occasional homework 
  • Jul/Aug: 1 practice/week x 2 hours (some flexibility)
  • End Aug-Feb: 2 practices/ week x 2 hours 
  • additional homework

Requested Donation



What are the responsibilities of each team member?

There is much more to FLL Robotics than free playtime with Legos! Lego building is only a small part of the process. Most of the team meeting time is spent working with teammates to solve problems. We will also be researching and learning about our topic for the year, programming our robots to complete missions, and working with other teams and team members to help everyone be more successful!
During the school year, team members are asked to support the program through school related outreach, promotional, and/ or fundraising activities.

What are the time commitments for participating in FLL?

Competitive teams will meet once per week for 2 hours in late summer and twice weekly for 2 hours each from September through February. School year meeting times are not confirmed yet but will likely meeting anytime between 4:00 to 8:00 pm. To make the practices most effective, homework will be assigned between practices.
Club teams will meet once weekly for 2 hours from September through February. Homework will be assigned occasionally between practices.

If teams advance to a higher level competitions, extra or extended practices could be added.
Team members are expected to attend all practices for the entire session (unless with an excused absence). (Some leeway is allowed for practices during the summer.) 

Team members are also required to attend the following full-day tournaments.
1. Early Winter 2023/24: FLL Qualifier 

2. Mid Winter 2023/24: FLL Championship OR FLL Cup Tournament (Tentative)

3. Mid Winter 2023/24: CEF Robotics Showcase

My student does not attend a CUSD school. Can they still join FLL?

No. Carlsbad Educational Foundation funds FLL for the Carlsbad Unified School District. Students must attend a CUSD school to participate.

What is the parent/guardian involvement?

LEGO Robotics is a family commitment. Parent/Guardian involvement is essential to the success of our FLL teams. Each team of students needs a minimum of 2 parent coaches who can consistently be at the meetings each week. Parents do not need any prior experience with programming or research. Training and support will be provided. If you are not able to coach, there are many other opportunities to get involved!

What does it mean to coach a team?

To learn more about what it means to be a coach, please join our virtual FLL Information Session on May 2nd at 7:00pm via Zoom. 

Who are FIRST mentors and coaches?

  • People from all backgrounds and disciplines who share their knowledge, whether it is technical or non-technical
  • Someone who contributes on a weekly basis facilitating team meetings, helping the team set realistic goals and coordinate their work OR someone who supports the team with subject matter expertise on an as needed basis including assisting the team with topics such as programming questions, building skills, scholarships, business management, marketing, or fundraising
  • An adviser who helps foster Gracious Professionalism® and FIRST Core Values in the students.
  • To learn more about the coaching experience, visit 
What are the questions in the application for the student questionnaire?

Why do you want to be on an FLL team?

 What previous experience do you have with a team (any team)?

 What is the most important personal skill or interest you believe you could offer a team?

 How would you handle a disagreement between two team members if asked to mediate?

Will there be a Beginning Robotics course offered over the Summer?

Beginning Robotics will be offered through CEF’s Summer Enrichment Camp at Pacific Rim Elementary . To view available courses, visit our registration site.

Does CEF provide transportation to practices, tournaments, or events?

CEF does not provide transportation for any programming and it is the families’ responsibility to ensure students arrives to practice and events on time and are picked up promptly after.

How is CEF's Robotics Funded?

All CUSD LEGO Robotics programs are funded by the Carlsbad Educational Foundation. CEF invests nearly $150,000 annually in robotics for CUSD students. This includes:

• Second-grade robotics for all students

• FLL Robotics:  4th – 8th grade after school program

• FTC Robotics:  9th – 12th after school program 

These programs provide Carlsbad Unified students the opportunity to join a robotics team that focuses on engineering, teamwork, and collaboration. The total cost for each FLL team member to participate in the program is approximately $900 per year. A recommended donation of $300 (Middle School)/ $250 (Elementary School) per team member is requested from each family to help cover the costs of competitions, equipment, and programming. Your donation, funding provided by CEF, and outside donors have allowed the opportunity for this program to grow from serving 50 students to over 200. This non-refundable donation can be made at the time of registration.

Robotics Coordinators

Pacific Rim Site Coordinator-

Ken Elliot & Teodora Podesta

Meeting Location: Room 302

Valley Middle Site Coordinator-

Ryan Lenehan

Meeting Location: Room 603

District Coordinator-

Linda Dee