What is FIRST?
FIRST® stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
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. Founded by Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST develops accessible, innovative programs to motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
What is FRC?
FRC is the highest level of FIRST, the FIRST Robotics Competition. Each year FRC teams participate in a competition, the objectives of which are new each year. The new game is released in January of each year at kickoff which is televised by NASA and FIRST all over the world! After kickoff, each team has 6 weeks to design, build, and program a robot that fits in the given constraints of the game. After the six weeks have elapsed, the robot must be sealed for competition.
Regional competitions are held in major cities such as Minneapolis, Chicago, and Kansas City. These typically consist of 40-60 teams from anywhere in the world. Competitions occur over a period of 3 days including practice matches, qualification matches, elimination rounds, and finals. It’s not all about winning the game. Teams are also judged for areas including team spirit, community outreach, marketing, the robot, design, pit safety and appearance, and above all “Gracious Professionalism.”
Being part of the team is a chance to use your talents and abilities and learn new ones. Each year, the team is given a new challenge. You will learn to be part of a team, to look at and evaluate possible solutions, decide on a solution, design, build and test your solution.
In addition to FRC, there are 3 additional FIRST opportunities.
- FIRST LEGO League Jr. (Elementary School – 6-9 years old)
- FIRST LEGO League (Middle School – 9-14 years old)
- FIRST Tech Challenge or FIRST Robotics Challenge (High School – 14-18 years old)
Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST, speaking about the potential and growth that the organization helps foster in students.