What is FIRST ?


FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Their mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, 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.

FIRST Founder Dean Kamen is a prolific inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology. His passion and determination to help young people discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology are the cornerstones of FIRST. For over 30 years, Kamen has resolutely led the growth of FIRST to where it is now universally recognized as the leading, not-for-profit STEM engagement program for kids worldwide.

FIRST is “More Than Robots”. FIRST participation is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21st century work-life skills. Read more about the Impact of FIRST. 

About the FIRST Programs


For Kids aged 4 – 14, across 3 Divisions

FIRST® LEGO® League introduces science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) to children in Grades JK to 8 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.

Starting with Discover, children ages 4-6 are introduced to the fundamentals of STEM while working together to solve fun challenges and building models using LEGO® bricks. As participants progress into Explore (ages 6-10), children will take their background knowledge of STEM and put it into practice as they work in teams to design and build robots using LEGO Education WeDo 2.0. Once they are ready to move into a competitive setting, they join Challenge (ages 9-14) and apply their STEM skills combined with critical thinking to work with a team, build a robot and compete in an exciting, mission-based Robot Game.

Interested in Mentoring a Team or Starting your own? Find out more here

Interested in Volunteering at an FLL Tournament? Find out more here

FIRST  Tech Challenge

For Kids aged 12 – 18

FIRST® Tech Challenge teams (up to 15 team members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate 18 inch x 18 inch x 18 inch robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format on a 12 foot x 12 foot playing field. 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 of Java-based programming. Teams design and build robots, raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach to earn specific awards.

For the 2019/2020 Season, FIRST Tech Challenge is running as a pilot project in Ontario, with a single competition and limited team registration. For more information, please visit the FIRST Robotics Canada website.

FIRST  Robotics Competition

For Kids aged 14 – 18

Often called “The Ultimate Sport of the Mind” and “The Hardest Fun You’ll Ever Have”, FIRST® Robotics Competition gives teams of 10 to 30 High School students (grades 9 – 12) the challenge of building a 120lb, competition-ready robot in under six weeks.

Under strict rules and limited resources, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, as well as build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer Mentors from fields ranging from Engineering & Design to Business & Public Relations lend their time and talents to guide each team.

Interested in Mentoring a Team or Starting your own? Find out more here

Interested in Volunteering at an Ontario FRC District Event? Find out more here