We express the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition through our Core Values:
Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!
The Core Values describe a way of working together and respecting each other that helps to define the FLL experience. This is part of what sets FLL apart from other programs for this age group. We hear stories every year about a team that drops their robot at a tournament and watches the pieces scatter in every direction. Team members from other teams rush in to help them put their robot back together before their next match. This is because FLL teams want to compete fairly and have fun together. Keep in mind that the Core Values apply to everyone in FLL. Please talk to parents, Mentors, and other Volunteers with your team about what the Core Values are and why they are so important. By embracing the FLL Core Values, anyone involved in FLL may find that they begin to treat people more fairly and respectfully in other areas of their lives.
Gracious Professionalism® Gracious Professionalism® means teams compete like crazy against challenges but appreciate and treat each other with respect. Your real opponent is the problem you’re trying to solve — not any other team or person. Gracious professionals lend a helping hand to an opponent when needed because they want everyone to have a chance to compete. Even when a team wins the competition, they avoid treating anyone like losers. In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. You can enjoy personal success while also making a contribution to society. FLL team members will learn that they can succeed while still acting with integrity.
Benefit of the Doubt Just as we expect teams to display the Core Values throughout the season, FLL tournament organizers, judges, referees, and others are expected to uphold the Core Values too. Under this philosophy, teams should receive the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.
Teams will be given the opportunity to explain themselves if an issue arises during the FLL season. Judges or referees may ask your team questions about who worked on your robot or Project idea. Whenever possible, teams will be given the points or the higher judges’ rating if there is no evidence that a team broke the rules.
Sometimes teams assume that another team could not have done the work they present without the direct involvement of adults. Remember that children are remarkably creative, and some are highly sophisticated at programming or software applications for presentations. Don’t assume that you know what another team is capable of, and don’t let your team members make assumptions either.
Prepare for a Tournament
Unlike other areas of FLL, teams usually do not have tangible results (like a robot or a Project idea) to show to the Core Values judges at a tournament. So how do teams prepare for Core Values judging? By incorporating the Core Values into all you do and talking about the Core Values throughout the season. All teams operate differently, and teams can be successful with different styles. Some teams have a strong leader, some have a democratic approach, on some teams each child has a specialized role, and other teams share all responsibilities equally. The Core Values can be incorporated into all of these styles and teams can be successful using all of them. As long as team members understand and use the Core Values in their interactions, no particular working style is better than the others.
Core Values Judging When you attend a tournament, your team will meet with Core Values judges at some point during the day. There are multiple formats for Core Values judging, so check with your tournament organizer if you have any questions about how your team will be judged. Teams generally do not need to bring their robot or Project materials to Core Values judging sessions.
Regardless of what judging format your event will use, it is always a good idea for your team members to prepare some examples of how they demonstrated the Core Values throughout the season. These might be about each team member individually, a few team members together, or about the whole team. Have team members take turns telling about these examples in front of the group, and ask other children to give feedback. Remember to keep the feedback constructive. Team members should be especially careful about displaying the Core Values when providing Core Values feedback!
Learn more about how your team’s demonstration of Core Values knowledge and skills will be judged by reviewing the awards and rubrics. Notice that among other criteria the rubrics encourage teams to:
Embrace discovery and all three aspects of FLL (Core Values, Project,
and Robot Game) in a balanced way.
Develop a clear team identity and find ways to engage others in your team’s enthusiasm and fun.
Find ways to apply FLL Core Values and skills in daily life.
Define clear goals and develop processes to help them problem solve
and make clear decisions as a team.
Use team talents and time wisely.
Take responsibility and operate as a team with minimal Coach guidance.
Balance and appreciate contributions from all team members.
Always act and speak with integrity so that others feel respected and valued.
Actively cooperate with other teams and embrace the spirit of friendly competition.
Rescources from the FLL Challenge Community
Some teams like to practice the Core Values challenge activity used during judging.Here are some pages with sample activities for your meetings: