What is FIRST?
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international, non-profit organization that promotes the growth of STEM fields within developing youths and teens. Their programs inspire students to work in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields while also promoting the philosophies of sportsmanship, cooperation, gracious professionalism, and fair competition.
FIRST runs multiple levels of competition that exemplify the fundamentals and concepts of STEM.
The FLL (First Lego League) is a competition targeted towards students grade 4 through 10 that promotes the ideas of robotics through use of LEGO building blocks. Like the higher tiers of competition, there is a challenge that the students set out to accomplish, while representing the core concepts of FIRST and learning more about the STEM fields. However, unlike the higher levels of competition, the robots performing in the FLL are simpler in design and take less manpower to create. Despite this, the competition has equal effect upon its participants.
The FTC (First Tech Challenge) is a competition featuring students grade 7 through 12 that follows closely with the ideals of FIRST and their competitions. Unlike the FLL, the FTC steps up the game by introducing more complex challenges and increasing the detail of robots. Instead of following the limited designs provided by LEGO, FTC teams are encouraged to work with their own materials. Following a strict list of materials, the teams work to create a complex robot that can accomplish multiple goals presented by FIRST. Ultimately, the core message of the competition is the same in all levels of competition, but the FTC encourages more critical thinking and idea generation.
The FRC (First Robotics Competition) is a large scale competition that encompasses teams from nations all over the world. Targeted towards high school students, the pinnacle of FIRST ideals are represented by this competition and the team that participate. Robots and game missions are diverse and complex, while still representing the core principals of FIRST. Students on teams are required to be capable in multiple fields of STEM and be able to think critically and be able to form original, innovative ideas.
Coopertition is the FIRST philosophy of unwavering respect, kindness, and honesty in the wake of competition.
Gracious Professionalism is the FIRST philosophy that encourages high-quality work, respecting individuals, and giving a strong effort.