FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization that generates interest in science and engineering in today’s youth.  FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people to participate in science and technology as they would a sports’ team.  Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

Since 1989, FRC (First Robotics Competition) has grown from 28 teams involved to over 32,000 today. They have 4 different programs aimed at children from third grade through twelfth.

First Lego League, Jr.- Kindergarten through third grade

First Lego League- 4th through 8th grade

First Tech Challenge- 7th through 12th

First Robotics Competition- 9th through 12th

Overall Reach – All Programs Combined

  • 400,000+ students
  • 38,700+ teams
  • 34,000+ robots
  • 90,000+ Mentors/adult supporter roles filled
  • 90,000+ other Volunteer roles filled (e.g. event Volunteers, Affiliate Partners, VISTAs)

The organization holds annual robotics competitions in which participants must build a robot to compete in a game.  This competition immerses high school students in the exciting world of engineering and technology.  We team up with engineers who mentor us and give us a hands-on, inside look at the engineering profession.  All teams are given six weeks to brainstorm, design, construct, and test their robot.  These robots participate in one or more of the 50 regional competitions, and nine robots from each regional are selected to go to the national competition in Saint Louis.


2016 FIRST Robotics Competition – STRONGHOLD

  • 3,000 teams
  • 75,000 high-school students (Grades 9-12)
  • 56 Regional Events; 5 Qualifying Championships; 44 Qualifying (District) Competitions
  • FIRST Robotics Competition Championship at the FIRST Championship in St. Louis, MO, April 27-30, 2016
  • Robots are built in 6 weeks from a common kit of parts provided by FIRST, and typically weigh approximately 120 lbs.

However, FRC hasn’t been the sole undertaking of the FIRST organization.  They’ve developed other technologically-inspiring competitions for high-schoolers and middle-schoolers.  The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) was started in 2005 as a more affordable opportunity for schools to participate in robotics competitions with a heavier emphasis on programming.  FIRST Lego League (FLL) was introduced in 1999 as a partnership with the Lego Group to get younger kids interested in engineering and developing solutions to real-world problems.  The Junior FIRST Lego League was started in 2004 to extend that involvement to pre-schoolers and elementary-schoolers.

All of these programs build a partnership between schools, businesses, and universities, and provide an exchange of resources and talent.  FIRST is a way for all of us to discover the important connection between classroom lessons and real world applications.  It is an excellent opportunity for everyone to come together as a team and support the youth who will grow to become the much-needed engineers and technicians of tomorrow’s labor pool, as well as being great fun!

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