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First LEGO League: The Unofficial Guide Paperback – August 22, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1593271855 ISBN-10: 1593271859

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press (August 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271855
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

The book was written for both veteran and rookie teams - we talked with dozens of teams about their experiences with FLL and gathered tips, advice, worksheets, and more. The book has over a dozen downloadable files for use by teams (website address provided in the book) that can be modified as desired.

The book has 16 chapters in all plus one appendices. Chapters include:
(1) What is FLL? (2) How FLL Works (3) Guidelines and Rules (4) Finding Equipment, Mentors, and Funding (5) Starting or Building a Team (6) Managing Your Team (7) The Team Experience (8) Coaching a Team (9) NXT vs RCX (10) Basic Building (11) Building Techniques for the Robot Game (12) Sensors (13) Getting Organized for Programming (14) NXT-G Programming Concepts (15) The Project and (16) Tournaments and Beyond. Appendix includes a list of useful Resources for FLL teams and coaches.

We also provide weblinks for a discussion forum section created just for the book as well as the downloadable files mentioned in the chapters and any errata that might exist. We will continue to update the forum with news and information as well as occasional downloads for team use.

We tried our best to cover every aspect of FLL and hope we did a good job. The book is over 200 pages of advice that can be put to immediate use and, hopefully, give teams a jump start if they need it.

-James Floyd Kelly, August 2008

About the Author

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. He is a contributor to The NXT Step blog and a co-author of "The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Idea Book" (No Starch) and "The NXT Robotics Competition Workbook" (self-published).


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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The book is written clear and concise.
Duc C. Nguyen
The books voice is a very relaxed one, much like a tour guide that really enjoys talking about his tour route.
Joseph Meno
Being new to FLL, this book gave me the structure to start my own FLL team and gave great NXT robot ideas.
Kenneth C. Williams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Williamson on August 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
Oh how I WISH I had this book three years ago when I started my team. It covers just about everything you need to know about starting and keeping a First LEGO League team. From basic teamwork strategies to building and programming tips and tricks, this book has it all. It is the perfect compliment to the official coach's guide provided by FLL. It's informative and easy to read without being either dumbed-down or over your head.

I highly recommend this book and I'm going to keep my copy table-side every season. Thanks James and Jonathan for putting together such a great resource!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Meno on September 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a program for middle-school age children to explore robotics and a global theme that has grown to be a worldwide phenomenon involving thousands of children and adults. While that sounds very impressive, it's also very intimidating. With so many people already involved, how can a new person start a team? Is there a right way? How can a team grow and succeed?

FIRST LEGO League: The Unofficial Guide, by James Floyd Kelly and Jonathan Daudelin, is an excellent introduction to FLL for those wanting to start a team. Going through a step-by-step formula, the book explains everything about FLL from information about the program itself to starting a team and competing.

Every step is almost exhaustively documented - I say almost because the writing style is far from exhausting. The books voice is a very relaxed one, much like a tour guide that really enjoys talking about his tour route. Such points as fundraising and team management are covered in the book, which are very important yet not really mentioned anywhere else.

Building the team is a large component of the book, but so is building with the MINDSTORMS system, and a majority of the book is devoted to building and programming robots. Again, the text is engaging and step-by-step, showing how and more importantly, why a process or build method is advantageous. One inadvertent side effect of reading this is realizing what a successful team has to know - while my respect for FLL competitors is high, the Unofficial Guide gave me a much higher appreciation of the work needed to make a quality team.

And I guess that's the best way to describe this book - it's a quality book that I strongly recommend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary Roberts on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
There is something for all FLL teams, both rookie and veterans in this book. Also, if you are checking out FLL and trying to decide if you want to begin a team, this is the place to get the information necessary to make that decision. I have been involved in FLL for over 6 years and I found helpful information as I read through FIRST LEGO League: The Unofficial Guide.

All new FLL teams need this book. The whole program is laid out clearly, with not only necessary information, but also with much helpful additional information. There is so much to learn in FLL and this book will guide you from how to start a team, how to do fundraising, how to handle team meetings, how to do basic robot buidling and programming, how to tackle the research project and much more, then onto what to expect at a tournament and beyond.

The format of this book is easy to read and understand. Additionally, it is laid out in such a way, that you can easily find the topic you need or you can choose to start at the beginning and read all the way through.

You will not be dissapointed by this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David A. Levy on September 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for new coaches looking for advice on how to manage a team. But since it is written in a kid-friendly manner, it should also serve as an invaluable reference for rookie team members wondering where to begin. Veteran teams will benefit from this book as well, as it covers advanced building concepts for managing attachments and vehicle alignment.

The authors have presented the content in a well thought out and informative way without giving away any mission solutions - so I applaud them for that. I'm now a third year FLL coach and am presently preparing for the up and coming season so this book could not have arrived at a better time. I only hope it survives the onslaught of my ten member team of 5th and 6th graders. :)

David Levy
Virginia USA
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Martijn Boogaarts on August 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a must have for all the First LEGO League teams, and their coaches.
Although I'm an expert on LEGO MINDSTORMS, I still consider this book good value for money, it contains a lot of expert tips and tricks in getting your team organized and well set for the tournament. The easy writing style is even for non native English readers good to read. The layout is comfortable, and the side notes are a real added value.

The first chapters handle some background that is good to know, to make the team enthusiastic about the FLL games.
Chapter 4 contains a downloadable fundraising letter that shows that FLL goes beyond playing with LEGO robots, it also explains how to do business in real live.
Then the chapters about managing the team, is a must read for new coaches, but also experienced managers could learn form it.
The technical chapters, near the end of the book, handle a lot of tips and tricks on how to improve your LEGO robot and its program. I consider that many teams still can learn from these chapters. During several FLL finals, I was present as a "technical first aid doctor" for the teams that ran into "unforeseen" problems. I'm sure with this book at hand those problems would not have occurred.

This book really handles FLL form start to end, and encourages you to participate in the Fist LEGO League.
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