What is FIRST?

After School Program for ages 6-18.

FIRST is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Founded more than 30 years ago by inventor Dean Kamen, the 2018-2019 FIRST season attracted more than 600,000 youth and more than 100,000 Mentors, Coaches, and Volunteers from more than 95 countries. The annual programs culminate in an international robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self-confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path.


For students aged 6-18, it’s the hardest fun you’ll ever have.

Mentors and Coaches

For team Mentors, Coaches, and Volunteers, it’s the most rewarding adventure you’ll ever undertake.


For Sponsors, it’s the most enlightened investment you could ever make.

Participants in FIRST are much more likely to

Attend College
Major and Pursue Careers in Science or Engineering
Secure Internships

Volunteer in their Communities
Mentor Students
Become Outstanding Citizens

FIRST Learning Never Stops

it builds upon itself, starting at age 6 and continuing through middle and high-school levels up to age 18. Young people can join the international, K-12, after-school, STEM programs at any level. Participants master skills and concepts to aid in learning science and technology through innovative projects and robotics competitions.

Overview of Programs

FIRST LEGO League Explore captures young children’s inherent curiosity and directs it toward discovering the wonders of science and technology. This program features a real-world scientific concept to be explored through research, teamwork, construction, and imagination. Guided by adult Coaches, teams use LEGO® bricks to build a model that moves and develop a Show Me Poster to illustrate their journey.

Children get to:

  • Design and build a challenge-related model using LEGO components
  • Create a Show Me Poster and practice presentation skills
  • Explore challenges facing today’s scientists
  • Discover real-world math and science
  • Begin developing teamwork skills
  • Choose to participate in expos and showcases
  • Engage in team activities guided by the Core Values

In FIRST LEGO League Challenge, children are immersed in real-world science and technology challenges. Teams design their own solution to a current scientific question or problem and build autonomous LEGO robots that perform a series of missions. Through their participation, children develop valuable life skills and discover exciting career possibilities while learning that they can make a positive contribution to society.

Children get to:

  • Create innovative solutions to challenges facing today’s scientists
  • Strategize, design, build, program, and test an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® or SPIKE Prime technology
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts
  • Develop career and life skills including critical thinking, time management, collaboration, and communication while becoming more self-confident
  • Become involved in their local and global community
  • Choose to participate in official tournaments and local events
  • Qualify for an invitation to World Festival
  • Engage in team activities guided by the Core Values

FIRST Tech Challenge is designed for students who want to compete head to head using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete on a 12′ X 12′ field, in an Alliance format, against other teams. Robots are built from a reusable platform and teams can choose from two programming 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 well as community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.

Students get to:

  • Design, build, and program robots
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts
  • Develop strategic problem-solving, organizational, and team-building skills
  • Compete and cooperate in Alliances at tournaments
  • Earn a place in the World Championship
  • Qualify for scholarships at over 100 colleges/universities

Dubbed a varsity Sport for the Mind™, FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 10 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real world” engineering as a student can get. Professional Mentors volunteer their time and talents to guide each team.

Students get to:

  • Work alongside professional engineers
  • Build and compete with a robot of their own design
  • Learn and use sophisticated hardware and software
  • Develop design, project management, programming, teamwork, strategic thinking, and Coopertition® skills
  • Earn a place in the Championship
  • Qualify for scholarships at over 150 colleges/universitie

It’s a Competitive Sport

It’s Opportunity

It’s a Life Experience

It’s Community

It’s Amazing