FIRST® FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What is FIRST®?
  2. Who are some of the organizations that sponsor FIRST?
  3. What does research show about participation in FIRST?
  4. How does the education community support FIRST?
  5. Who manages the teams and events?
  6. How can Volunteers get involved?
  7. What is Gracious Professionalism®?
  8. What is Coopertition®?
  9. What is FIRST® LEGO® League?
  10. What is the LEGO Group's role?
  11. What is the role of FIRST?
  12. Do you have information on how FIRST LEGO League actually impacts the future science and engineering workforce?
  13. Is the FIRST LEGO League experience rooted in real-world issues?
  14. Why did you select ANIMAL ALLIESSM as the 2016/2017 Challenge theme for FIRST LEGO League and why is it important?
  15. What do students win?
  16. What is the role of FIRST LEGO League Operational Partners and Regional Program Staff?
  17. What other sponsors are involved?
  18. What is FIRST® LEGO® League Jr.?
  19. Why did you select CREATURE CRAZESM as the 2016/2017 Challenge theme for FIRST LEGO League Jr. and why is it important?
  20. What is the FIRST LEGO League Jr. Online Showcase?
  21. How is the FIRST LEGO League Jr. experience administered?
1. What is FIRST®?

FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, N.H., the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity inspires young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting Mentor-based programs that build science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

FIRST provides a progression of four global, after-school programs for K-12: the FIRST® Robotics Competition for Grades 9-12 (ages 14 to 18); the FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12 (ages 12 to 18); the FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8 (ages 9 to 16; ages vary by country); and the FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4 (ages 6 to 10). FIRST also operates a research, development, and training facility called FIRST® Place™ at its headquarters in New Hampshire.

What is FIRST Promotional Video

2. Who are some of the organizations that sponsor FIRST?

FIRST is supported by a strong network of corporations, educational and professional institutions, and individuals. Some of the world’s most respected companies – including more than 200 of the Fortune 500 companies – provide funding, mentorship time and talent, volunteerism, equipment, and more to make FIRST a reality.

In 2016, FIRST Strategic Partners included:

3M Company, Argosy Foundation, BAE Systems, Bechtel Corporation, The Boeing Company, Booz Allen Hamilton, DEKA Research & Development Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, FedEx Corporation, General Motors Company, Google.org, LEGO® Education, Motorola Solutions Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NI, PTC, Inc., Qualcomm® Incorporated, Rockwell Automation, Rockwell Collins, and United Technologies Corporation (UTC)

3. What does research show about participation in FIRST?

A decade of data and research shows that exposing kids to fun, exciting FIRST programs builds 21st century work skills and greatly increases their motivation to seek education and careers in STEM fields. Learn more at www.firstinspires.org/aboutus/impact.

4. How does the education community support FIRST?

FIRST provides an education, skill, and career path for young people who might not otherwise have discovered an interest in and pursued education and careers in science and technology. FIRST works closely with schools at every level to transform both the perception and reality of education in science and technology. Some of the finest colleges and universities support FIRST by providing scholarship opportunities, sponsoring teams, and providing mentorship, equipment, and facilities. As a result of the support of these colleges and universities, 2016/2017 season FIRST high-school students are eligible to apply for more than $26 million in scholarship funds to continue education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Transforming Teaching: A FIRST Documentary | The top 5 Myths of Teaching STEM in the Classroom

5. Who manages the teams and events?

FIRST is truly a Volunteer-driven organization. For the 2015/2016 FIRST season, more than 200,000 Volunteer roles were filled, with contributions in areas including mentorship, event management, recruitment, and team management. The growth and success of FIRST is a direct result of the efforts of the Mentors, parents, teachers, community leaders, and citizens who volunteer their time and talent.

6. How can Volunteers get involved?

The best way to start discovering the rewards of FIRST is to volunteer. Learn more here or get in touch with us at Volunteer@CentralFloridaRobotics.org.

7. What is Gracious Professionalism®?

Gracious Professionalism® is part of the ethos of FIRST. The idea and phrase are found throughout FIRST, but no one has been a stronger champion than FIRST Distinguished Advisor, Dr. Woodie Flowers.

“Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process.”

8. What is Coopertition®?

Coopertition® produces innovation. At FIRST, Coopertition is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete. Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from Mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.

9. What is FIRST® LEGO® League?
FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8 (ages 9 to 14) introduces children to the fun and experience of solving real-world problems by applying engineering, math, science, and technology. FIRST LEGO League is an international program for children created in a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Group in 1998. Each year, the program announces an annual Challenge to teams, which engages them in authentic scientific research and hands-on robotics design using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technologies. After a minimum of eight weeks, the FIRST LEGO League season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments. In the 2016/2017 season, more than 255,000 students are participating in over 80 countries.

10. What is the LEGO Group's role?

The LEGO Group is the Founding Partner of FIRST LEGO League. Since its inception, the LEGO Group has supported the growth and success of the program by contributing each year to the development, management, and funding of customized Challenge Sets, Robot Sets, marketing communications resources, Volunteers, and more. During the 2015/2016 season, LEGO® Education became a FIRST Strategic Partner.

11. What is the role of FIRST?

FIRST® is responsible for:

  • The overall vision and mission to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. This vision guides all FIRST decisions and led to the development of the FIRST LEGO League program.
  • The FIRST LEGO League program includes developing the annual Challenge, the standards for the program and Championship Tournaments, and supporting program documents

12. Do you have information on how FIRST LEGO League actually impacts the future science and engineering workforce?

More than 255,000 students will participate in FIRST LEGO League in 2016/2017. A study of participants in the U.S. and Canada conducted by Brandeis University showed that: 94% of Coaches reported an increase in students’ understanding of how science and technology can be used to solve problems.

Among Past participants*:

  • 98% expressed a greater awareness of STEM
  • 88% expressed an increased interest in going to college
  • 87% expressed an increased interest in doing well in school
  • 84% expressed interest in a job that uses science and technology
  • 99% increased teamwork skills
  • 95% increased time management skills
*Source: Evaluation of the FIRST LEGO League SENIOR SOLUTIONSSM Season (2012-2013)

13. Is the FIRST LEGO League experience rooted in real-world issues?

Absolutely. Every year, as FIRST LEGO League designs the Challenge, we look to the real-world practitioners and experts in the chosen subject area for guidance, input, and opinion, so that children are engaged in practical and realistic activities.

For the 2016/2017 ANIMAL ALLIESSM Challenge, FIRST collaborated with experts at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, University of New Hampshire, New England Aquarium, and LEGO Education to create the theme and Challenge missions.

14. Why did you select ANIMAL ALLIESSM as the 2016/2017 Challenge theme for FIRST LEGO League and why is it important?

Every FIRST LEGO League Challenge reflects an important real-world issue as a way to not only bring visibility to it among young children, but also as a way to show students how science and technology can contribute to solving problems. The themes are selected to engage students in STEM learning via a topic relevant to their real life. In the FIRST LEGO League season Challenge, ANIMAL ALLIESSM, teams will explore the animal kingdom and how humans interact with animals -- from study to transport, to care and conservation -- and will develop their own innovative solutions to improve the interactions to make them better for everyone. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under the FIRST LEGO League signature set of Core Values.

15. What do the students win?

The competition is judged in four areas: Project; Robot Performance; design and programming of the robot; and Core Values. A judging committee of distinguished professionals makes award decisions. The highest honor, the Champion’s Award, goes to the team that is strongest across all four performance categories. Every participant who attends a Championship Tournament receives a medallion to commemorate his/her experience and dedication to the eight-week process.

16. What is the role of FIRST LEGO League Operational Partners and Regional Program Staff?

FIRST LEGO League relies on Volunteers to run the program at many levels, from managing a region to coaching an individual team. FIRST and LEGO partner with and manage organizations with similar missions to deliver the program in specified regions. FIRST LEGO League Partners and their respective Regional Program Staff roll out the program in their respective regions. These Partners fundraise, run Championship Tournaments, hold workshops and demonstrations, market the program locally, handle public relations, and recruit Volunteers and teams.

17. What other sponsors are involved?

In addition to the LEGO Group’s role as Founding Partner, FIRST LEGO League is supported by Global Sponsors 3M Company, LEGO System A/S, NI, and Rockwell Automation. Also, FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournaments are made possible by hundreds of local Sponsors, as well as universities/colleges participating in the program.

18. What is FIRST® LEGO® League Jr.?

FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4 (ages 6 to 10) is designed to introduce younger children to the fun and excitement of solving problems with science and technology. FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. teams are given a Challenge based on a real-world theme, requiring them to build models and create a Show Me Poster depicting their research journey. Teams are encouraged to gather together to share their projects and experiences with family and friends or at a locally organized Expo or on the FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. Online Showcase. In 2016/2017, more than 68,000 children are expected to participate in 29 countries.

New for the 2016/2017 season is the addition of the Inspire Set – a special LEGO® Education kit that will be used by teams to inspire creativity within the Challenge theme – and the Engineering Notebook, which will create a more structured experience for teams.

19. Why did you select CREATURE CRAZESM as the 2016/2017 Challenge theme for FIRST LEGO League Jr. and why is it important?

FIRST LEGO League Jr. is the starting point to exploring the world of science and technology. Every FIRST LEGO League Jr. Challenge reflects an important real-world theme as a way to not only bring visibility to it among young children, but also as a way to show students how science and technology can impact the world around them by engaging them in a real-world theme to which they can relate. In CREATURE CRAZESM, participants will dive into the wonders of the animal kingdom. Teams will learn the fundamentals of design and programming, and how science, technology, engineering, and math impact our everyday lives, while they get excited about future innovations.

20. What is the FIRST LEGO League Jr. Online Showcase?

The FIRST LEGO League Jr. Online Showcase is a way for teams to share what they have learned during the season. They do so by posting a team profile to flljrshowcase.firstinspires.org. They then have the opportunity to connect with other teams from around the world by checking out their profile pages, giving stickers, and sending them messages.

21. How is the FIRST LEGO League Jr. experience administered?

FIRST LEGO League Jr. relies on Volunteers to run the program at many levels. FIRST and LEGO partner with and manage organizations with similar missions to deliver the program in specified regions. Parents, educators, community program administrators, can start and coach or mentor a team in their area. The program also has Partners who facilitate the FIRST LEGO League Jr. program in their region. These Partners, along with their Regional Program Staff, help fundraise, run expos, market the program locally, handle public relations, and recruit Volunteers and teams.