This year’s FIRST Tech Challenge for students in grades 7 to 12 grade will see participation among 60,000 students on 6,000 teams in 25 countries.
Founded in 1989, FIRST builds student interest in science, technology, engineering and math through a series of robotics competitions for K-12 students.
“The true value of FIRST Tech Challenge is in the experience of working as a team to do something you didn’t think was possible. It’s about self-discovery, team building and problem solving,” FIRST president Donald E. Bossi said in a press release. “That’s why FIRST programs are perfect for educators to use to help their students transfer classroom concepts to real-world applications and prepare them for the future. That’s also why 200 colleges, universities and other providers make $50 million in scholarships available to FIRST students.”
Through an online game reveal, FIRST introduced the 2017-2018 adventure theme, FIRST Relic Recovery. As part of the competition, teams will build small robots and play a 150-second game, which includes autonomous and driver-controlled periods, with the goal of scoring the most points. To earn points, teams must navigate their robots to different areas of the playing field, retrieve jewels from platforms and park on “balancing stones,” among other actions.
“We’re excited for FIRST Tech Challenge teams to dig in to RELIC RECOVERY,” FIRST Tech Challenge director Ken Johnson said in the statement. “This year, we’re introducing the REV Robotics Expansion Hub to streamline wiring and give teams more options in how they build their robots, all while reducing team cost. Combined with the capability of the Android operating system and the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor at the heart of the control system, teams can build truly innovative designs.”
The competition’s season begins in October and culminates with the FIRST Championship at the end of April. Other competitions include FIRST LEGO League Jr. Challenge for K-4th grade, FIRST LEGO League for 4th-8th grade and FIRST Robotics Competition for high-schoolers.