Why integrating Core Values throughout the season makes sense.
By- Heidi Buck

The concept of Core Values is at the very heart of FIRST LEGO League, and starting this season a new ‘Core Values’ judging category has been introduced. To score well, teams must demonstrate skills in inspiration, teamwork and Gracious Professionalism.

But, we all know that Core Values aren’t something that can be typed on index cards and memorized last minute. They have to be an integral part of a team’s ethos. So, how do teams go about incorporating Core Values into the character of their group? One team I recently met have come up with an innovative way to make Core Values an integral part of their season. They’ve created their own Core Values Award!

Jay Kyathsandra, coach of the Folsom Dynobytes, explained why his team created this award and how it works:
“Last year, as we prepared for the tournament, we were working with the kids to remember examples that support FLL Core Values. Through our learning, we realized that it is a powerful behavior/learning that is critical in all aspects of life and should be embraced on a daily basis and in our weekly sessions, not just for the competitions.  The spirit of our Core Values Award is for each team member to consciously work on demonstrating core values in each category with specific examples and work towards incorporating all the core values on a daily basis. The end output is when we get to the competition, it is a natural outcome/process of how the team embraced the core values versus trying to recollect where each team member contributed to the core values and how.

The Folsom Dynobytes

The process we follow is a random number draw, each team member talks about a core value he/she demonstrated for the month and a specific example. The rest of the team either agrees with it or they will share other examples of what the team member did that may have been impactful but did not express. Also the expectation is each team member can get one award only once in each category. This motivates the team to think about what is the next core value they should be working towards.”

Along with creating this Core Values Award, the team also hosted a season ‘kickoff’ strategy session with two other local teams. After the session, it was time for a pool party and a water balloon fight with the coaches.

Another important Core Value: We have FUN!