Even if you are not ready or eligible to join FIRST LEGO League right now, you can still have fun learning with LEGO EV3 MINDSTORMS robotics. Whether for an FLL team or for fun at home or school, there are two official LEGO packages available in order to purchase the basic EV3 programable brick and motors/sensors. Both sets work great, and the programming software is available free for download. The sets differ in the pieces they include.
LEGO 5003400 is the “LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core Set” available for purchase from the LEGO Education website store. This is the set most schools purchase, but home purchasing is encouraged, too. This set’s big advantage is the rechargeable battery, ultrasonic sensor, metal castor wheel, and sorting box that it includes. The battery and ultrasonic sensor can be purchased separately, too. It does lack some pieces that the commercial version has, though. LEGO 45560 is the “LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Expansion Set” is also available from the LEGO Education website store and adds more pieces and another sorting box to your collection.
LEGO 31313 is the commercially available “LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3” that you can purchase directly from LEGO, their stores, and many other stores that sell LEGO products (such as Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc.) This set comes with an infrared sensor/receiver that is fun to play with, but it is illegal to use in FLL competitions. It comes with pieces to build some fun models, such as TRACK3R, R3PTAR, SPIK3R, EV3RSTORM and GRIPP3R that can be controlled with a downloadable app. For starting families or teams without prior building or programming experience, the LEGO 31313 kit provides a great introduction and can be upgraded later by buying individual sensors, batteries, and pieces from LEGO.