What is FIRST® Tech Challenge?


FIRST ® Tech Challenge (for ages 12-18) tests teams to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge using an alliance format. Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and can be coded using a variety of levels in Java-based programming. Teams design and build robots, raise funds, design and market their team brand, document their team’s journey in an engineering notebook and do community outreach to earn specific awards.

What is FIRST® Tech Challenge?

FIRST® Tech Challenge is a student-centered program that focuses on giving students a unique and stimulating experience. Each year, teams engage in a new game where they design, build, test, and program autonomous and driver operated robots that must perform a series of tasks. To learn more about FIRST® Tech Challenge and other FIRST® Programs, visit www.firstinspires.org.

There are two alliances of two robots each – “red” and “blue”. There are two alliance-neutral Craters sit in opposite corners of the Playing Field and two Alliance-specific Depots are in the other corners. Unique navigation targets are placed in the center of each field wall. In front of each corner is a Mineral Sampling Field with 2 Silver Minerals and 1 Gold Mineral, randomly lined up. Field personnel will randomize the Minerals in the Sampling Field prior to the start of the Match. The remaining Minerals are divided approximately equally and placed in each Crater.

FIRST Core Values

We express the FIRST® philosophies of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® through our Core Values:

• Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
• Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
• Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
• Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
• Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
• Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

Gracious Professionalism®

FIRST® uses this term to describe our programs’ intent and Gracious Professionalism® is not clearly defined for a reason. It has different meanings to everyone. Some possible meanings of Gracious Professionalism include:

• Gracious attitudes and behaviors are win-win.
• Gracious folks respect others and let that respect show in their actions.
• Gracious Professionals make valued contributions in a way that is pleasing to others and to themselves.

In the end, Gracious Professionalism® is part of everyday life. When professionals use their knowledge graciously and individuals act with integrity and sensitivity, everyone wins, and society benefits.Watch Dr. Woodie Flowers explain Gracious Professionalism in this short video.

Gracious Professionalism for Volunteers

It is a good idea to spend time going over this concept with volunteers. Provide volunteers with real-life examples of Gracious Professionalism in practice before, during, and after the event and recognize great Gracious Professionalism when you see it in action!