What is FIRST?

FIRST Robotics, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a global organization that encourages students of all ages to explore technological and scientific concepts through various competitions. It was founded by Dean Kamen in 1989. There are three main competitions: FIRST LEGO League (FLL), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Participants can join their school’s Robotics team and enter the competition, creating a robot alongside their peers! Not only does FIRST Robotics give students STEM-related exposure, but it fosters friendships, connections, and real-world skills that students will carry with them later in life.

For more information, check out the FIRST official website here: FIRST Official Website

FIRST® inspires young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Official FIRST Robotics Website


As stated on the FIRST website, “FIRST® LEGO® League introduces STEM to children through fun, exciting hands-on learning. Participants gain real-world problem-solving experiences through a guided, global robotics program, helping today’s students and teachers build a better future together. FIRST LEGO League’s three divisions inspire youth to experiment and grow their critical thinking, coding, and design skills through hands-on STEM learning and robotics centered around a yearly theme.”

There are 3 divisions: ages 4-6, ages 6-10, and ages 9-16 (ages 9-16 varies by country). The first two groups take part in FLL PLAYMAKERS, which explores activities and how they can be fun and accessible for everyone involved by solving engineering challenges and building models. The final group participates in FLL RePLAY, which is a more advanced level. This group builds and codes EV3 Robots during the competition. All teams contain 4-10 students.

Read more about FLL here: FIRST Lego League

Read about how we help FLL teams here: FLL Mentoring

FIRST Tech Challenge

The FIRST website describes FTC with the following: “FIRST® Tech Challenge teams work together to design, build, and program a robot to play a themed competition challenge by brainstorming innovative ideas, exploring advanced engineering concepts, and developing career-ready practices.”

This competition is for students ages 12-18. Unlike FLL, students do not build with kits but from scratch, manufacturing their own mini robot. There are up to 15 teammates, and it is encouraged that each member gain experience in every aspect of the process (building, coding, fundraising, marketing, etc.)

Read more about FLL here: FIRST Tech Challenge

Learn about Team 555’s FTC team here: Team 555 FTC

FIRST Robotics Competition

FRC is described by the FIRST website as follows: “Under strict rules and limited time and resources, FIRST® Robotics Competition teams are challenged to create a team identity, raise funds, hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-sized robots to play a themed field game in an action-packed alliance format. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get.”

This competition is for students ages 14-18. Similar to FTC, students do not build with kits but from scratch, manufacturing their own robot. However, the robot is bigger and more advanced as there is no limit on members. As such, there is more focus on creating a team identity, and students generally focus on a few areas of interest (building, coding, fundraising, marketing, etc.) as opposed to participating in everything.

Read more about FRC here: FIRST Robotics Challenge

Learn about Team 555’s FRC team here: Team 555 FRC