FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) has been described as “the varsity Sport for the Mind.”
FRC combines the excitement of a sport with the challenge of science and technology. Each year teams are faced with a new challenge game that contains unique and specific goals to accomplish. Teams need to analyze the game, develop a strategy and then design, manufacture, program and wire a robot that accomplish that strategy. All of this is done with limited resources, and time constraints, and strict rules. In other words, it is as close to “real-world” engineering as one can get in a high school setting. Teams also have a business side that is tasked with raising funds, designing a team “brand,” and promoting the team to sponsors and other teams at competition.
Like all high school teams, a FIRST® Robotics team teaches students the value of teamwork and cooperation and how to challenge yourself. FRC doesn’t just help students learn to cooperate with their own teammates; it is designed to encourage students to work with other teams as well. The competitions require teams to work with ‘the other side.’ There is even an award for being helpful to other teams.
FIRST® organization has coined a term: Coopertition. This word sums up the spirit of FRC: we want competition, but not competitive jerks.
As part of FIRST® Robotics, students get to:
- Learn from professional engineers
- Build and compete with a robot of their own design
- Learn and use sophisticated software and hardware
- Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments
- Earn a place in the World Championship
- Qualify for college scholarships
The mission of FIRST® is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”
– Dean Kamen, Founder