FIRST, which stands for “For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” is a nonprofit organization founded by Dean Kamen in 1989. Structured around a high-school robotics competition, the FIRST Robotics Competition is much more than just a competition, combining gracious professionalism with technology to create an environment that fosters a deeper appreciation for science and technology. Professional mentors as well as college students partner with teams to teach students valuable engineering and professional skills while helping the team succeed. Furthermore, FIRST teams are encouraged to spread the word to increase appreciation of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math in society as a whole. In addition to the FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST sponsors the FIRST Tech Challenge, designed for high school teams that may not have the resources to participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition. For younger students, FIRST has developed the FIRST Lego League. Learn more at FIRST
FIRST CODE OF CONDUCT
The FIRST mission is to inspire a generation of science and technology leaders who are both gracious and professional. This FIRST Code of Conduct lists some of the basic behaviors mentors, coaches, volunteers, team members, affiliate partners, contractors, staff, and other participants should adhere to while participating in FIRST activities.
- Exhibit Gracious Professionalism® at all times. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions.
- Ensure the safety of all participants in FIRST activities.
- Not engage in any form of bullying, harassment, use of profane or insulting language, or any actual or threatened violence.
- Adhere to all FIRST Youth Protection Program (YPP) policies.
- Report any unsafe behavior to event or local FIRST leadership.
Persons who do not comply with this Code of Conduct may be barred from participating in FIRST activities.
Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.” Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Click here to Learn more about FIRST Robotics Competition
FIRST Tech Challenge teams (10+ members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format. Participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have!” Guided by adult Coaches and Mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles (like keeping an engineering notebook), while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and sharing ideas. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and can be programmed using a variety of languages, including Java. Teams also must raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach for which they can win awards. Click here to learn more about FIRST Tech Challenge
Tomorrow’s innovators practice imaginative thinking and teamwork. Guided by two or more adult Coaches, FIRST LEGO League* teams (up to 10 members, grades 4-8**) research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS®, then compete on a table-top playing field.
It all adds up to tons of fun while they learn to apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM), plus a big dose of imagination, to solve a problem. Along their journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges. They also practice the Program’s Core Values, which emphasize discovery, teamwork and good sportsmanship. In Tampa, FIRST LEGO League team fall under the West Florida Region, through Hillsborough Community College. If you are interested in finding out information locally or how to join or form a team, visit their website. For more information on FIRST LEGO League in general to include past challenges, Click Here
FIRST LEGO LEAGUE JUNIOR
It’s never too early to discover STEM. FIRST LEGO League Jr. is designed to introduce STEM concepts to kids ages 6 to 10 while exciting them through a brand they know and love − LEGO®.
Guided by two or more adult Coaches, teams (up to 6 members, grades K-4) explore a real-world scientific problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc. Then they create a Show Me poster that illustrates their journey of discovery and introduces their team. They also construct a motorized model of what they learned using LEGO elements. In the process, teams learn about teamwork, the wonders of science and technology, and the FIRST LEGO League Jr. Core Values, which include respect, sharing, and critical thinking. At the close of each season, teams come together on a regional basis to share their Show Me poster and model, celebrate, and have fun! For more information on FIRST LEGO League Junior, Click Here.
A big advantage to participating in FIRST is gaining access to millions in college scholarships made available by colleges, universities, and corporations who support FIRST. This is exclusive financial help open only to FIRST team members, giving them a competitive leg up on other students seeking educational funds.
- Most are for use at the specific Provider college or university, but some can be used at any school
- About 35% of FIRST Scholarships can be used for any course of study, not just engineering
- Amounts vary from one-time awards to full four-year tuition