What is FIRST?
At first glance, FIRST, looks like a robot competition and a complicated one at that; but looking deeper, it is much, much more. Dean Kamen always stresses that “the robot is just a vehicle” and that it is the connections that the students make with career professionals that make the difference. FIRST allows students to take the lessons that they learn about in class, through textbooks and computers and apply them to tangible, real-world problems; in ways that are not possible in a traditional classroom setting. On top of that, FIRST strives to get the students working along side industry professionals. That is what makes FIRST unique.
Junior FIRST Lego League: Grades K-3
Jr.FLL is the newest program in FIRST. Jr.FLL introduces the youngest students to the exciting worlds of science and technology. Just like FLL, this program features a real-world challenge, to be solved by research, critical thinking and imagination. Guided by adult coaches, students work with LEGO elements and moving parts to create solutions and present them for review. (usfirst.org)
FIRST Lego League: Grades 4-8
FLL introduces younger students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society. (usfirst.org)
FIRST Tech Challenge: Grades 9-12
FTC is designed for those who want to compete head-to-head, using a sports model. Teams of up to 10 students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as for well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments. (usfirst.org)
FIRST Robotics Competition 9-12
“The varsity sport for the mind,” FRC 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. (usfirst.org)