FIRST Tech Challenge is designed for students in grades 7-12 to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams 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 can be 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 well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.
Students get to:
- Design, build, and program robots
- Apply real-world math and science concepts
- Develop problem-solving, organizational, and team-building skills
- Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments
- Qualify for over $13.5 million in college scholarships
Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It’s 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. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.
In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.
How does it work?
The FIRST® Tech Challenge offers students like you the opportunity to build robots, learn computer programming and computer assisted design (CAD) and compete against other teams at the local, regional and national level! You will gain practical, hands-on skills that test the theories and concepts you learn in the classroom.
Teams are formed in the fall. The annual FIRST Tech Challenge Kickoff in early September starts the build season. Competitions and Leagues take place starting in November and continuing through February. They involve up to 48 teams cheered by hundreds of fans over the event day. A championship event caps the season. Referees oversee the competition. Judges evaluate teams and present awards for design, technology, sportsmanship, and commitment to FIRST®. The Inspire Award is the highest honor in FIRST Tech Challenge and recognizes a team that exemplifies the values of FIRST.
…It’s like life. You never have enough information. You never have enough time. The kit of materials may be what you have in the warehouse. There are always people doing competing things and you must have a strategy. We’ve created a microcosm of the real engineering experience.
FTC has opened the eyes to many girls that engineering is a bright path in which we can showcase our skill and dexterity. Where girls were once thought to be harmless competition, FTC has shown that we are a fierce threat to those who underestimate our engineering prowess and determination.
The most important skill I learned was how to communicate with others. They (my Mentors) were concerned with how I developed as a person. They helped me blossom, and they helped me see the world from a perspective beyond the technical side of things. It’s rewarding to go back and teach what I learned. I see a lot of potential in the kids. They have a fire and it makes me happy as a Mentor to see that.