FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) 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 over 25 years ago by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST is a Sport for the Mind™, where young, innovative, and creative minds explore science and technology, solving real-world problems and competing in exciting, hands-on robotics challenges. The annual programs culminate in an international robotics competition and celebration. Through their FIRST experience, participants win recognition, gain self-confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path.
“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
FIRST provides a progression of four international, after-school programs for K-12:
FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. captures young children’s 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 elements to build a model that moves and develop a Show Me Poster to illustrate their journey.
In FIRST® LEGO® League, 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 based on an annual theme. Through their participation, children develop valuable life skills and discover exciting career possibilities while learning that they can make a positive contribution to society.
FIRST® Tech Challenge is designed for students who want to compete head to head using an exciting sports model. Teams design, build, and program their robots to compete on a 12′ X 12′ field, in an Alliance format, against other teams. Robots are built from a reusable platform, powered by Android technology, and programmed using Java. Teams, including Coaches, Mentors, and Volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles, such as rapid prototyping. Awards are given for the competition, as well as community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.
Dubbed a varsity Sport for the Mind™, FIRST® Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. 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.
All descriptions and logos are provided by FIRST.
More Than Robots
The goal of FIRST is to inspire others in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. They certainly manage to maintain this goal, which is apparent when looking at other teams across the world. They are inspired and are excited to do what they do.
Just like the other teams, we have been inspired to take part in this program. FIRST has taught us well, and they have provided not only skills that are useful in business and engineering, but they have also given us lessons on life and its common challenges. For this, we sincerely thank you!