FIRST’s mission 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.
“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”
—Dean Kamen, Founder*
*Dean Kamen is an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology. His passion and determination to help young people discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology are the cornerstones of FIRST: F-I-R-S-T (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
FIRST attracts more than 210,000 youth and more than 90,000 mentors, coaches, and volunteers from 56 countries for programs that build 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. 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. FIRST is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology, and math. Founded over 20 years ago by inventor Dean Kamen, the 2009-2010 FIRST season attracted more than 210,000 youth and more than 90,000 mentors, coaches, and volunteers from 56 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.
FIRST Family of Programs
|FIRST introduces younger children to the exciting world of science and technology. This program features a real-world challenge to be solved by research, critical thinking, construction, teamwork, and imagination. Guided by adult coaches, teams use LEGO® bricks to build a model with a motorized part and develop a coordinating poster to illustrate their journey.
Grades K-3 (ages 6-9) get to:
Children are immersed in real-world science and technology challenges. Teams build LEGO-based robots and develop research projects. Through their participation, children develop valuable life skills and discover exciting career possibilities while learning that they can make a positive contribution to society.
More geographically accessible, FTC is designed for those who want to compete head-to-head using a sports model. Teams of up to 10 students 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 is 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.
Dubbed a “varsity sport for the mind,” FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 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 that a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.
Get Involved with FIRST
Interested in getting involved in FIRST, but not sure where to start or what to do? Here you’ll find everything you need to get underway: