The FIRST® Organization
The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics organization was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen to inspire young people to become interested in science and technology. Over the years, FIRST has expanded and grown to encompass several organizations and annual events.
The Nashoba Robotics Team takes part in the high school level First Robotics Competition (FRC). In the words of the FIRST organization, FRC is "a varsity sport of the mind" designed to showcase the excitement of scientific discovery in the same way that athletic competition showcases the excitement of sport.
Enrollment in the FRC has gone up dramatically over the past several years. Not only are teams from around the United States, but also from around the world. In the short time that the Nashoba Robotics Team has been involved, we have competed with teams from Israel and Brazil.
Every year, in early January, the FIRST Robotics organization releases that year's robotics challenge to hundreds of high school teams. This challenge varies widely from year to year so that students will have the opportunity to explore all different aspects of robotic technology. Beginning in January, teams have six weeks to design and build a fully working robot to complete tasks outlined in the challenge. This time period is generally referred to as the "build season."
FIRST encourages professional adult engineers to become involved with high school programs as mentors. During the build season these adults often help students learn the technical aspects of what they are trying to accomplish. After the six-week period is over, the robot is packaged up to await the competition date.
FIRST Robotics runs nearly 40 regional competitions each year. Locally, there are many District competitions within New England. In 2016, the Nashoba Robotics team is competing in Worcester, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts; and Hartford, Connecticut. In each competition, robots face off in a test of man and machine to see which team is most capable of completing the FIRST challenge. After 1.5 days worth of nearly continuous matches between randomly selected alliances, the top eight winning teams each draft two additional team to round out their alliance as they move into the elimination rounds to compete together. In the New England District, teams compete to earn ranking points in two qualifying District Events in hopes of being invited to compete at the next level of competition at the New England District Championships in Hartford, CT. The top performing teams at the District Championships may qualify to continue competing at the highest levels at the FIRST Championship Competition in St. Louis, MI. FIRST robotics events foster a sense of competition and excitement among team members. The drive to perform well at the competition helps to motivate learning and creativity throughout the rest of the year.
FRC Challenge History
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