FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is a national high school robotics program designed to build awareness and interest in science and engineering among school-aged youth and to provide young people with challenging and engaging skill-building opportunities. FRC challenges teams and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard kit of parts and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and enter them in competitions that involve not only the operation of the robots, but also presentation of a variety of other associated team activities, including design of team websites, computer animation (CAD/CAM) presentations on their robots, and involvement in community service activities.

The goals of the FRC program include an increased awareness of and interest in science and technology among young people, development of practical problem-solving and teamworkrelated skills, and the development of positive attitudes, including an increased sense of selfconfidence, motivation to do well in school, and an appreciation for what the program describes as “gracious professionalism” – the ability to work together within a team and to work cooperatively with those on other teams, including potential competitors. As such, the program aims at both fostering interest in science and technology and providing a positive youth development experience for participating youth.

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