Students work on robots during Bayou Regional.

FIRST® LEGO® League & FIRST® Robotics

FIRST LEGO League introduces elementary and middle school aged children (9-14 yrs. old) to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. Teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society. Students get to design, build, test and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology; apply real-world math and science concepts; research challenges facing today’s scientists; learn critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills; participate in tournaments and celebrations. The Louisiana State Tournament is held annually in January.


FIRST Robotics is labeled "The varsity Sport for the Mind," and combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to "real-world engineering" as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Louisiana and Mississippi collaborate to offer the FIRST Robotics Bayou Regional held annually in March or April.


In Louisiana, these two programs are made possible through FIRST Louisiana-Mississippi, Inc. (formerly known as Building Louisiana Science and Technology - BLaST), a nonprofit organization created to bring FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to Louisiana. The mission of FIRST is “to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership.”


Tulane supports these programs by providing board members, tournament organizers, mentors and volunteers.

FIRST LEGO League Volunteers

The 2020 Louisiana State Tournament will be held at Jesuit High School in New Orleans on Saturday, January 18th. Volunteers are needed as referees, game announcers, timekeepers, photographers, team queuers, pit crew runners, registration desk workers, traffic directors, and Lego playing table monitors. Half-day and full-day slots are available, lunch is provided, and rides will be arranged for those who need transportation to and from Tulane. If you are interested in refereeing (some say the best job at the competition!), it is a full day commitment with mandatory training. All other positions are OJT (on the job training!).

If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up using the FIRST Volunteer Information & Matching System (VIMS). Go here for more information and email Dr. Sanchez at if you have any questions.

FIRST Robotics Bayou Regional Volunteers

The 2020 FIRST Robotics Bayou Regional is coming to New Orleans on March 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday), and we would love to have your help as a volunteer! FIRST Robotics was designed to provide high-school students with hands-on learning opportunities in Engineering and Science. The competition challenges teams and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week time frame using a standard “kit of parts” and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and enter them in a series of competitions at a high energy, varsity-style sporting event. The 2019 Bayou Regional will be in the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner (15 minutes from downtown New Orleans), parking is free and food (plus a T-shirt) is provided! Please sign up using the FIRST Volunteer Information & Matching System (VIMS).

 Questions regarding outreach in the Tulane University School of Science and Engineering may be addressed to Michelle Sanchez, Ph.D. at