FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization that has one mission. This mission is to inspire students to get involved in the community through science and technology by engaging in exciting mentor-based programs. FIRST strives to make a culture change in which STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) heroes like Albert Einstein or Rachel Carson become as relevant and idolized as their athletic counterparts. Founded by Dean Kamen, an inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist in 1989, FIRST motivates young people to pursue education and career opportunities in the STEM field.
The Junior FIRST Lego League is a hands-on program for children aged 6-9, designed to capture the interest and curiosity younger children may have for science and technology. Teams consist on average of two to six children and at least two adult mentors.
The FIRST Lego League is for children ages 9-14, there are over 25,000 teams in 8 different countries. Teams consist of up to ten children and two screened mentors, who do not need to have any engineering background. FLL students do all the work on the robot (using the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robot set) to score points in their yearly game, they create innovative solutions to real world problems and uphold the FLL Core Values.
The FIRST Tech Challenge is for students in grade 7 to 12, FTC is a smaller version of FRC. This program offers children the opportunity to learn valuable technology skills including computer programming and computed assisted design (CAD). FTC teams are able to compete at local and regional competitions, allowing them to get pratical and hands-on skills from the theories learned in class.
The FIRST Robotics Competition is arguably the biggest program in FIRST, FRC is for high school students with teams including over 50 members each. FRC teams are expected to complete the challenge given by FIRST through designing, engineering and programming a robot to complete the task given. The other part of FRC is the focus put on business, marketing and public relations. Teams are expected to make business plans, brand and promote STEM and their team in the community.