What is FIRST® Robotics Competition?
Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited time and resources, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Championship.
We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.”
What does every FIRST Robotics Competition team need?
- 2 or more adult Mentors with both technical and non-technical expertise willing and motivated to “coach” the team through the build and competition season (and beyond)
- 10 or more high school-aged students willing to put in time after school (and maybe some weekends) and to do any job the team needs to succeed (lots of important jobs available for all skill levels and interests)
- A suitable meeting place
- A suitable space to design and build an industrial-sized robot (about 150 lbs.), that has access to a variety of machine shop power tools
- A standard kit of parts and a common set of rules issued by FIRST
- A community sponsor(s) that will help fund your efforts and provide other support
- The desire to learn, explore, strategize, build comradery, share ideas and talents, make new friends, be accepted, and HAVE FUN!
When does FIRST Robotics Competition happen?
In general, FIRST Robotics Competition operates during the school year. Teams form and register in the fall. However, the “official season” begins early in January when the season’s Challenge is announced at a Kickoff ceremony. Teams must then create their robot in order to be ready for their competition events. District and Regional competition events start in late February and continue through April. Teams that qualify are invited to FIRST Championship at the end of April. There are also many off-season events in which teams can participate, strategize, hone their skills, learn new technology, meet other teams, and have fun!
What is the time commitment?
As a Mentor or adult Volunteer, you should be meeting with your team at least several times per week during the build and competition season (January – April). Many mature teams also meet throughout the school year, and some compete in off-season events during the summer. You, your family, and your available free time can decide together how much time you can devote to the program.
As a team member, the same applies. Be prepared to meet at least several times per week from January through April. Like any sport or other after-school activity, the more time you invest, the better you will become at your task(s). During build season, the pressure is on, so be prepared to also spend some nights and weekends helping your team.
Any special skills required?
The really cool thing about FIRST Robotics Competition is…all skill levels are welcomed and needed, technical or non-technical. Teams need all kinds of skills to succeed, so what are you good at? We have a job for you. And we’ll probably teach you a few new ones while you’re with us.
Student team members are encouraged to bring any skills they already have, like programming, electronics, metalworking, graphic design, web creation, public speaking, videography, and many more. FIRST Robotics Competition welcomes every student, with or without special skills. Like our Mentors say, “This is the only sport where if you show up, you can play.”
If you’re interested in starting a FIRST Robotics Competition team, please visit: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/start-a-team
If you have any questions, please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org