What’s FIRST?


“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

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, the mission of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is to inspire young students to become science and technology leaders. FIRST does this by engaging students in mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills and fostering self-confidence, communication and leadership skills.

Two important values behind FIRST are gracious professionalism, and coopertition. Gracious Professionalism is a way of competing, while still treating each other with respect and kindness. Coopertition is a term coined by cooperation and competition and encourages sportsmanship. It encourages team to help each other even in the face of competition.

FIRST inspires students in the STEM field from all ages. It consists of four main programs:

  • FIRST LEGO League Jr. (FLL Jr. ages 6-9): Students in teams of 2-6 are given a challenge, and must develop a proposed solution. Students will then build a Lego model of their solution and present their findings through a poster. More information about Jr. FLL can be found here.
  • FIRST LEGO League (FLL. ages 9-14): Students in teams of 2- 10 are given a challenge, and must build and program a Lego robot to complete different missions. Students also must research and present their solutions. More information about FLL can be found here.
  • FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC, Grades 7-12): Students are given a game challenge and much design, build, and program a robot that will compete with other teams. FTC aims to provide the same challenge as FRC (below), but in a more affordable format. More information about FTC can be found here.
  • FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC, Grades 9-12): Students work with mentors to design, build, and program a 120 pound robot, in six weeks, that is built to meet the demands of a competition game challenge. More information about FRC can be found here.