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Website and website content, including all images are copyright Joseph Menassa 2007.  All rights reserved.



What is FIRST?

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology is a program whose main goal is to inspire and teach young people in the fields of science and technology.  The program does this by pairing high school students and professional mentors to solve intense engineering problems in a competitive way.  Each January a new game is announced and a universal kit of parts is given to each team.  The teams then have six weeks to build a robot to play the game.  They then go to regional competitions and finally a national competition competing to see who has the best designed robot.

How did this program begin?

Dean Kamen, a distinguished inventor and president of DEKA Research, started this program in 1992 with only 19 teams.  His main goal was to introduce and teach students in the fields of science and technology.  Dean believes that today’s students will be the adults who change the world in the future.  The program helps students to do better in school and promotes good habits from “gracious professionalism” to organizational skills.

Who is involved?

Over 40,000 students in over 1800 schools are involved in the 2010 competition.  These schools come from every US state and numerous other countries.  Thousands of parents and mentors will also be involved guiding each team along.  Teachers from every school represent the teams along with engineers from the sponsored companies and mentors from local colleges.  Each team is sponsored by the school and a company. Some of the companies involved include Gillette, NASA, Delphi, Motorola, Pepsi, and many other major corporations, usually not technologically related.  Some colleges involved include WPI, Clarkson University, MIT, Northeastern, and Brown.

Is it expensive?

The program is usually funded in one of three ways.  First, a sponsor, a willing company may be able to provide the team with full financial backing.  The second way is through local grants from the government or school.  However, the third and most common and productive way is basic fundraising.  It is good to have some financial backing because sometimes the average team may spend up to $30,000 in one season because of travel, registration, and part expenses. Registration for the season gives the team a kit of parts and admittance to one regional.  Registration costs $6,000 and each additional regional and the national championship also cost $5,000 each.

Who benefits from it?

The students, the mentors, the teachers, the sponsors, and the public benefit greatly.  Studies have shown that students do better in their math and science classes after participating in FIRST.  Also it entices the majority of participants to want to major in engineering and hence promotes college.  The students also benefit greatly by the hundreds of scholarships available to them through the program.  Mentors benefit greatly by interacting with the students and engineers, which allows them to make contacts, practice what they are studying, and learn from peers of all ages.  The teachers involved learn more techniques in learning which they can then bring back into the classroom.  The sponsors benefit greatly from the publicity they receive.  The colleges involved become famous among thousands of students giving them a whole new window to attract students.  And, of course, the public benefits by having more students learn about engineering so that they will someday change the way the world works in the future for all of us.

What is the most important aspect?

The most important aspect of the program is what it does to the students. It makes learning fun.  As plain as can be, the students learn more than ever in the best environment, from the best people, in the most exciting ways.  It puts the classroom into the history books and provides a whole new method of learning.  The majority of the students go on to further their education in college and most will have an impact on the world.

How can I get involved?

The best way to get involved is to go to the FIRST website,  The site offers more in depth information on the program and also a tutorial on how to become a mentor or sponsor.  There is even information on how you can you can start your own team at a local school or in your community.












FIRST Robotics Photography:

Robotics 2010

Robotics 2008

Robotics 2007

Robotics 2006

Robotics 2005

Robotics 2004

From the Archives:

Robotics 2003

Robotics 2002

Robotics 2001

And for more information:

Aquidneck Island Robotics

FIRST Robots: Behind the Design