FIRST® Senior Mentor of West Tennessee featured by FIRST® HQ

On February 28, 2021, FIRST® was also celebrating Black History Month where Mr. Randall C. Phillips was one of our African American (FIRST Senior Mentors) FSMs featured in their Social Media series. Phillips is our FSM covering Western TN, Eastern AR, & Northern MS for 3 years.

On February 16, 2021, Mr. Phillips also took part as a panelist in the FIRST® Innovation Challenge Expert Education Series, Episode 5 which aired on the same date. This was done LIVE and Recorded for reviewing now. Phillips is a very proud to be apart of both!!!

FIRST Innovation Challenge –
Direct Link –,%20Episode%205.mp4

Mr. Phillips is a Business Mentor to a FIRST® Tech Challenge Robotics Team as well as a FIRST® Robotics Competition Team for 12 years. Presently and for the last 5 years, Phillips is coaching a FIRST® LEGO® League Explore Robotics Team and FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge Robotics Team. Mr. Phillips also Instructs in coding & programming as a Teaching Assistant, plus he assists his Curriculum and Instruction Manager at CodeCrew. Lastly, Mr. Phillips is also a contract Instructor for YWCA of Greater Memphis teaching software and computer skills. FIRST, CodeCrew, & YWCA are all non-profit organizations.

Continue to support us!
(Science, Technology, Reading/wRiting, Engineering, Mathematics)
Robotics all wrapped inside!!!

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West TN FLL 2020-2021 Events!

Hello Everyone!

We have updated the Steps for a Successful Season! And have scheduled the Scrimmage and Championship for this season!

The Steps for a Successful Season will be your go-to place for any information regarding the events this season and the various requirements and changes that have been made!

Scrimmage Registration will be opening Tuesday February 16th, once we complete some last minute changes!

Please review the Steps for a Successful Season. There is a lot of information there, and we are sure that you are going to have some questions. We will have a Zoom meeting for “Office Hours” where you can join and ask whatever questions you have!

The first of our Office Hour conference calls will be Thursday February 18th!

Topic: West TN FLL Office Hours #1
Time: Feb 18, 2021 06:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 890 8727 5850
Passcode: 506131

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FIRST Innovation Challenge Expert Education Series

As part of the FIRST® Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm, FIRST is hosting an expert educational series featuring conversations with innovators and essential tips teams can apply to succeed in the challenge. Topics may include:

  • pitch advice
  • business model education
  • intellectual property
  • careers in innovation
  • product development
  • using CAD to show design

The three-month series will be a combination of informative webinars, Q&As and live panel discussions featuring dynamic FIRST alumni and experts from our sponsors, allowing teams to engage with real-world innovators and entrepreneurs.

For more info and a link to the sessions follow THIS LINK.

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Resources for remote participation


We know participation in FIRST® this season looks different for many of our teams as they transition to remote or hybrid learning and adapt to the challenges those changes bring.

To help you deliver an engaging STEM experience to your students this year, we’ve created new resources you can use during the RePLAYSM season to bring the excitement and skill building of FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge to your team, no matter where they are learning.FLL-Replay-wallpapers_desktop

Additional Challenge Sets: Registered teams can order an additional RePLAY Challenge Set for $75* so students can divide materials.

COVID-19 Modification Guidance: This modification guidance can help you engage students in the FIRST LEGO League Challenge experience. These suggestions and options are not prescriptive, and local health and safety regulations and guidance should precede any of the recommendations in the guide.

Digital Season Materials: Your FIRST LEGO League Challenge team registration includes digital access to season materials and resources through the FIRST Thinkscape Portal in your dashboard. In the portal, you’ll find the Team Meeting Guide, a static and interactive version of the Engineering Notebook, and more!

Community Best Practices Video Series: Curated tips from coaches and teachers like you. Topics include collaboration, dividing materials, and making modifications to keep everyone safe.

FIRST Professional Learning Community: This new forum is a resource for coaches, teachers, and other adults associated with registered teams and Class Pack sites to connect with each other, ask questions, and share resources and ideas about how FIRST can be run this season.

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TN Valley Robotics Offering CLASS PACK Grant

Due to Covid-19, TN Valley Robotics (TNVR) is offering to support classroom STEM robotics by offering grants for CLASS PACKS. If you are not familiar with Class PACKS you can read more about them HERE. This is available to schools within the TVA Service Area (shown as cyan in logo above). If you are a teacher and interested, please contact for more information.

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FIRST LEGO League Season 2020 Brief Season Overview

Remote Events: New for 2020-2021 season
The remote events manual and platform will be provided as part two of FIRST LEGO League Season Guidance for COVID-19 Interruptions, available in December 2020. It will provide information on participating in remote events along with details about the platform.

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EV3 to be Retired


Today LEGO® Education is sharing an important portfolio update with all of you regarding the retirement of LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3.

Since EV3 was launched back in 2013 it has impacted many thousands of young robotics enthusiasts all over the world as they have learned to build and code. We have seen and continue to see amazing creations with EV3 – and FIRST LEGO League is probably our best example of how working with EV3 unleashes student creativity in a world of robotics, and something we can all feel incredibly proud of. You, as our partners, have been vital contributors to this success and we cannot thank you enough for that.

But as we celebrate the success of this great product, we must ensure that we evolve together with the landscape of education. That is why we have decided to retire MINDSTORMS EV3 during summer 2021. We acknowledge the profound impact EV3 has had on our community, but EV3 is reaching its natural end of life and it is time to refocus our efforts. SPIKE Prime is the future and foundation of the LEGO Education portfolio for secondary school, and we are excited by its Robot Game-winning performances at recent FIRST LEGO League events.

To answer some quick questions:

Yes, you will be able to continue using the EV3 for FLL Events.

Lego will continue to support the apps for 2 more years. Beyond that the retired apps will still be available for download for an additional 3 years.

Starting in Aug 2022, the Guided Mission will only be available for SPIKE Prime however.

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How to Watch Twitch (And the FIRST Chanel) on Roku

FIRST does a lot of broadcasts on TWITCH, but last year twitch was dropped by Roku. Since this was my (editor’s) preferred way to watch these broadcasts, I searched for a new way to watch them (for the upcoming FIRST season) and found this video which does allow watching FIRST Twitch Channel on Roku.

This is not an official Roku channel and is not an official TWITCH app, so use at your own risk, but personally, I am using it because I love watching these on my bigger TV vs having to watch on my computer.

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FIRST @ Home

FIRST @ Home is a website full of activities and resources about programming, CAD, Artificial Intelligence, STEM and more! It have activities for all grade levels (K-12). Check it out HERE.

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LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robot Inventor

LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor is allowed in FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge, as any official LEGO element is allowed. Please see the below FAQ for more information:

Is MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor allowed in FIRST LEGO League?

Yes, as any official LEGO element is allowed in FIRST LEGO League. MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor can be used in FIRST LEGO League Challenge as long as the robot is programmed to move autonomously and not remote controlled.

The SPIKETM Prime Expansion Set and Competition Ready Unit are specifically designed with FIRST LEGO League in mind, and the ideal combination for students and teacher who are new to robotics and in need of more formalized training. The final lesson of the SPIKE Prime Competition Ready Unit helps prepare students and teachers for the annual FIRST LEGO League Challenge Robot Game.

What is the recommended solution to compete in FIRST LEGO League Challenge with?
Teams can participate in FIRST LEGO League using just the SPIKE Prime Core Set. However, the SPIKE Prime Expansion Set provides builders with over 600 additional elements that are specifically selected for competitions. While the MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor Set has more elements than the SPIKE Prime Core Set, these are included with the purpose of building the 5-in-1 models. When combined, SPIKE Primes’ core set plus expansion set include elements that are particularly useful for competitions. For example, large wheels for better grip, a force sensor for obstacle detection and large motors for greater power.

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