FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a multinational non-profit organization, that aspires to transform culture, making science, math, engineering, and technology as cool for kids as sports are today.

FIRST was created in order to educate students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Dean Kamen, FIRST’s founder and a certified savage, stated that he came up with this idea when he was at a science museum. He noticed that the children that were there had various jerseys of famous athletes. He asked these kids to name famous athletes and they did so with ease. However, when he asked them to name a famous engineer or scientist, they could not answer. He then wondered what it would be like if there was a sport that was much like conventional athletic sports, but for STEM fields. And thus, FIRST was born.

FIRST was founded in 1989 and operates the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in which teams of high school students, sponsored and assisted by local companies and volunteers, design, assemble, and test a robot capable of performing a specified task in competition with other teams. FIRST also runs the FIRST LEGO® League (FLL), for children 9-14 years old, and FIRST Place, an innovative science and technology center, including a hands-on children’s science museum. Along with this, FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) allows students another opportunity to get involved in FIRST.

FIRST was founded on Partnerships with businesses, educational institutions and government. Many Fortune 500 companies provide funding, in-kind donations, and volunteers to support the program.

FIRST Tech Challenge is a unique competition designed to help middle school and high school aged young people discover how interesting and rewarding the life of engineers and researchers can be. FTC is specifically designed to focus on the design process and documentation.

FTC challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a few months using Tetrix parts and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and enter them in competitions designed by Dean Kamen, Dr. Woodie Flowers, and a committee of engineers and other professionals.

FIRST redefines winning for these students because they are rewarded for excellence in design, demonstrating team spirit, Gracious Professionalism® and maturity, and the ability to overcome obstacles. Scoring the most points is a secondary goal. Winning means building Partnerships that last.

What is unique about the FTC program?

  • It is a game where the participants play with the pros and learn from them
  • Designing and building a robot is a fascinating real-world professional experience
  • Competing on stage brings participants as much excitement and adrenaline rush as conventional varsity tournaments
  • The game rules are a surprise every year

Information courtesy of the FIRST Robotics Web Site, http://www.firstinspires.org/ and Dean Kamen’s Documentary: Slingshot. Borrowed from FRC Team 1209