Building Louisiana Science and Technology (BLaST)

FIRST® LEGO® League & FIRST® Robotics

First Lego League

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) introduces elementary and middle school aged children (9-14 yrs. old) to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society. Students get to design, build, test and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology; apply real-world math and science concepts; research challenges facing today’s scientists; learn critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills; participate in tournaments and celebrations. Over 23,000 teams in more than 70 countries are expected to compete in the 2014 FLL season!

What is the future of learning? FIRST® LEGO® League teams will find the answers.  In the 2014 FLL WORLD CLASS℠ Challenge, over 230,000 children ages 9 to 14 from over 70 countries will redesign how we gather knowledge and skills in the 21st century. Teams will teach adults about the ways that kids need and want to learn.  Get ready for a whole new class – FLL WORLD CLASS℠!  FLL challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers.  During FLL WORLD CLASS℠, teams will build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® to solve a set of missions in the Robot Game.  They will also choose and solve a real-world question in the Project.  Throughout their experience, teams will operate under FLL’s signature set of Core Values.

FIRST Robotics is labeled "The varsity Sport for the Mind," and combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to "real-world engineering" as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Louisiana and Mississippi collaborate to offer the FIRST Robotics Bayou Regional held annually in March or April.

The theme for the 2014 season is AERIAL ASSIST℠. It is played by two competing Alliances of three robots each on a flat 25’ x 54’ foot field, straddled by a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor. The objective is to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two-minute and 30-second match. The more Alliances score their ball in their goals, and the more they work together to do it, the more points their Alliance receives.

First Robotics

In Louisiana, these two programs are made possible through BLaST (Building Louisiana Science and Technology), a nonprofit organization created to bring FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to Louisiana. The mission of FIRST is “to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership.”

Tulane supports these programs by providing board members, tournament organizers, mentors and volunteers.

FIRST Lego League Volunteers

The 2014 Louisiana state tournament will be held at Holy Cross in New Orleans on Saturday, December 6th. Volunteers are needed as referees, game announcers, timekeepers, photographers, team queuers, pit crew runners, registration desk workers, traffic directors, and Lego playing table monitors. Half-day and full-day slots are available, lunch is provided, and rides will be arranged for those who need transportation to and from Tulane. If you are interested in refereeing (some say the best job at the competition!), it is a full day commitment with mandatory training on Saturday, November 22nd, from 8:00am to 1:00pm here at Tulane. All other positions are OJT (on the job training!).

If you are interested in volunteering, please go here and email Dr. Sanchez at if you have any questions.

FIRST Robotics Bayou Regional Volunteers

The 2014 FIRST Robotics Bayou Regional is coming to New Orleans on April 3rd, 4th, and 5th (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday), and we would love to have your help as a volunteer! FIRST Robotics was designed to provide high-school students with hands-on learning opportunities in Engineering and Science. The competition challenges teams and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week time frame using a standard “kit of parts” and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and enter them in a series of competitions at a high energy, varsity-style sporting event.

The 2014 Bayou Regional will be in the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner (15 minutes from downtown New Orleans), parking is free and food (plus a T-shirt) is provided! You can sign up using the FIRST Volunteer Information & Matching System (VIMS).

Driving directions to the Pontchartrain Center»

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764