FIRST® has received a lot of feedback from new coaches in recent seasons and we have listened! One of the most frequent requests we’ve received is for more guidance on how to coach a FIRST LEGO League team during a coach’s first season. In response, FIRST has worked with several veteran coaches to develop FIRST Steps. FIRST Steps is a free, online course designed as a step-by-step guide for every activity, process, discussion, or decision a first-year coach needs to complete with their team.

FIRST Steps screen shot

The course is broken up into 9 modules. The first module helps coaches think about the logistics of running a team (meeting location, equipment, budget, etc.), while the next 8 modules walk the coach through every practice from Challenge release to the team’s first competition. Each module is designed as a single practice session, so the coach will be able to pick up a module and follow it step-by-step while with the team.

Note: We realize that only having 8 practices prior to competition is very ambitious, but there are teams, who for various reasons, are limited to one practice a week and have a very early competition date. Many of these teams can only meet 8 times. For teams with more time, they will likely spread the work over a greater number of practices.

Each module includes the following:

  1. Overview with Core Values, materials needed, and a summary of what the team will accomplish.
  2. Inspiration activity to help the team focus on and practice Core Values.
  3. Project activity to help the team walk through every step of the Project.
  4. Robot activity to help the team design, build, and program the Robot.
  5. Debrief discussion to help the team reflect on what they accomplished and learned in the practice.
  6. Field Research tasks related to both the Project and Robot the team members can complete in between practices.
  7. A brief description of what the team will accomplish the Next Time they meet.

The course also includes hints throughout the content with tips on anything from how to help kids make collective decisions to how to debug faulty robot programming. The course is free and accessible to anyone via the Schoology learning management system. Follow the instructions here to create an account and join the course! As you go through the content, be sure to give us feedback using the “Module Feedback” button at the top of each module’s “Overview” page.