FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Competition began in 1992 with 28 teams and has grown to hundreds of teams, with approximately 250,000 high school students competing in regional competitions throughout the world.
The goal is to model a business-like environment to create a product, the robot. FIRST provides each competing high school team with a common kit of robotic parts that weigh up to 150 pounds. Each team spends six weeks engineering a robot to solve a unique yearly challenge. In addition to using math, science, and engineering skills, this experience teaches students to be creative, to work as a team, use critical thinking and problem solving, manage projects, market themselves and their robot, troubleshoot issues, and manage their time in a real-world type setting.
This year, 99 FIRST Regional Competitions took place: 93 in the U.S., 4 in Canada, 1 in Mexico, and 1 in Israel. Each regional competition is an exhibition and celebration of the talents of many bright and creative high school students. Last month, the 2014 Utah Regional FIRST Robotic Competition took place at the Maverick Center in West Valley City, Utah and included 49 teams: Canada (1), Arizona (1), California (4), Colorado (7), Hawaii (1), Idaho (9), Montana (1), New Mexico (1), Utah (22), and Wyoming (2). There was a variety of Utah educational groups represented: 13 public schools, 5 charter schools, 2 private schools, and 2 community groups. The 22 Utah teams were sponsored by an assortment of STEM programs: 14 teams were CTE programs in Engineering, Robotics, Electronics, and Multimedia; 6 were Math and Science, 1 Computer Programming, and 1 community 4H Engineering group.
Foreground: blue robot – Boise High School (#2122 Team Tators)
Background: red robots – left to right
Juan Diego High School (#3289 Soaring Eagles); Granger High School (#5345 BOLTS)
Brighton High School (#5159 Bengal Robotics)
Congratulations to the four Utah teams who won regional awards: Brighton High School (#5159 Bengal Robotics), Hillcrest High School (#4585 Husky Robotics), InTech Collegiate High (#2993 InTech MegaBots), and Utah State University (#3230 Prototype X). At the competition the Colorado Springs team (#2996 Cougars Gone Wired) selected the Granite Technical Institute team (#3139 The Wingnuts) to combine with them in the paired competition. This duo won the competitive portion of the competition and advances to the national FIRST Robotics Championship.
The 2014 FIRST Championship will be held April 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri. The FIRST Championship is the culmination of the season’s FIRST programs, bringing together robotics competitions for the ultimate Sport for the Mind™. Teams will compete for scholarships ranging from a one-time award of $500 to full four-year tuition (estimated at $160,000).
FIRST Robotics is a high-tech spectator event which combines the excitement of sports with science and technology. “Our mission is to show students of every age that science, technology, and problem-solving are not only fun and rewarding, but are proven paths to successful careers and a bright future for us all,” says Dean Kamen, Founder of FIRST and Inventor of the Segway.
First Robotics Competition
Students to compete in robot competition at Maverick Center
Students put tech to the test in robotics competition
Photos: Student take part in robotics competition
Robotics contest draws teen engineers from Utah and beyond