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The FIRST Vision: For Science, Technology and Kids

Last updated on November 8, 2010

First things first….

What is FIRST?

FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Here are some quotes and pictures from the FIRST website.
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 nearly 20 years ago by inventor Dean Kamen, the 2008-2009 FIRST season attracted over 196,000 students and over 85,000 mentors, coaches, and volunteers from 51 countries. The annual programs culminate in an international robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self confi dence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path.

FIRST1“FIRST is a  not-for-profit organization devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology, and math. Founded nearly 20 years ago by inventor Dean Kamen, the 2008-2009 FIRST season attracted over 196,000 students and over 85,000 mentors, coaches, and volunteers from 51 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 competitions are….

“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.”

There are several FIRST programs, for different age groups.


  • Junior FIRST Lego League (JFLL)
    • For 6 to 9 year olds
    • Introduction to science and technology
    • Real-world math & science concepts
    • Uses LEGO Education Simple and Motorized Mechanisms Set
    • Solutions require research, critical thinking, imagination
    • Students learn team-building, presentation skills
  • FIRST Lego League (FLL)
    • For 9 to 14 year olds
    • Introduction to real-world scientific challenges
    • Design, build, and program LEGO-based robots
    • Complete tasks on a thematic playing surface
    • Research challenges facing today’s scientists
    • Learn critical thinking, team-building, presentation skills
    • May participate in Official Tournaments or local events
  • FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC)
    • For high-school students
    • Head-to-head competition using sports model
    • Teams design, build, program robots on engineering principles
    • Students learn, use sophisticated hardware & software
    • Mentored by professional engineers
    • Awards for competition, community outreach, design
    • Qualify for >$7 million in scholarships
  • FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC)
    • For high-school students
    • “Varsity sport for the mind”
    • Strict rules, limited resources, time limits
    • Students mentored by professional engineers
    • Teams learn, use sophisticated hardware and software
    • Build and compete with robots of their own design
    • Qualify for >$10 million in scholarships

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