FIRST, which stands for: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a worldwide, non-profit organization whose purpose is to transform culture by making science, engineering, math, and technology as exciting for kids as sports are. FIRST was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and the first insulin pump.
Currently FIRST operates four levels of competition, Jr. FIRST Lego League (Jr. FLL), FIRST Lego League (FLL), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Jr. FLL is for young elementary students, grades 1-3, where they build and present a Lego model to solve a specific world problem. FLL is for upper elementary and middle school aged students. They must design and build a robot that autonomously runs and is built from a Lego EV3 kit. Like Jr. FLL, they must also solve a problem based on the theme of the game, come up with a real world solution and give a presentation. FTC is for junior high and high school students, grades 7-12. They use Tetrix parts to make a small robot that has to run both autonomously and during a driver operated session. FRC is the varsity level of FIRST. Teams of high school students, grades 9-12, must make a robot to play the game for that year. The robot must run autonomously and during the driver controlled session.
As Dean Kamen always says, "It isn't really about the robot." Through FIRST, students participating learn not only about STEM, and the mechanical aspects of building a robot, but they also learn business skills, technical writing, public speaking, leadership, teamwork, and much more. They learn how to communicate effectively with CEO's and how to ask for sponsorships. Through FIRST, students learn the foundation for a successful business life, no matter what field they go into.
Plasma's FIRST Awards
- 2017 FRC Industrial Design Award
- 2017 FRC Excellence in Engineering Award
- 2016 FRC Arizona West Regional Chairman's Award*
- 2016 FRC Hard Hat Safety Award
- 2015 FRC Arizona West Regional Finalist
- 2015 FRC Entrepreneurship Award
- 2015 3rd Place Alliance at Arizona State AIA Competition
- 2015 FTC Spirit Award
- 2014 FRC Engineering Inspiration Award*
- 2014 FRC Arizona Regional Champion*
- 2014 FRC Imagery Award
- 2013 FRC Engineering Inspiration Award*
- 2013 FRC Las Vegas Regional Finalist
- 2013 FRC Innovation in Control Award
- 2012 FRC Utah Regional Champion*
- 2012 FRC Entrepreneurship Award
- 2011 FRC Team Spirit Award
- 2010 FRC Arizona Regional Champion*
*Plasma earned an invitation to World Championships in 2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, & 2010.