FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, this not-for-profit public organization designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while gaining self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. FIRST® K-12 STEM education programs use robot challenges to build science and technology skills and interests,in a character driven program that also inspires self-confidence, leadership, and life skills .
The FIRST Progression of Programs consists of four levels of STEM education participation: FIRST LEGO League Jr. (early elementary), FIRST LEGO League (elementary and middle school), FIRST Tech Challenge (middle and high school) and FIRST Robotics Competition (high school). The programs vary by age and complexity so that learning is always building upon itself. Starting at age 6 and continuing through middle and high-school levels up to age 18, young people can participate at any level.
In Florida, FIRST serves more than 10,000 students statewide. In Tampa Bay, over 3000 students are involved in FIRST programs in public schools, and youth groups throughout the area. For high school students involved in FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition, nearly $30 million in scholarships are available to participating students.
About FIRST Tech Challenge
FIRST® Tech Challenge is our second robotics competition for high-school students, with a smaller scale format and longer build period that helps students learn to design and build robots with both driver and autonomous controlled behavior. FTC robots are built with the TETRIX® or MATRIX® robot kits using a relatively new Android control system.
The Florida FIRST Tech Challenge program is completely volunteer run through the Florida FTC Program Committee. The FIRST Tech Challenge season in Florida starts in September and runs through February.
About ROBOT League of Tampa Bay
ROBOT League of Tampa Bay is consists of about 20 area FIRST Tech Challenge high school level teams who compete throughout the season to earn ranking points that will earn them a spot at the Florida FTC State Championship in February. Top teams will progress to the South Super-Regional Championship Tournament, in March, in Athens, GA this year. Winning teams from the Super Regional earn spots at the FIRST Tech Challenge Championship held in Houston, TX in April.