About FIRST, FRC, and FLL

What is FIRST?

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization dedicated to introduce students to prospective careers in science and technology. In their own words, their mission statement is “to show students of every age that science, technology, and problem-solving are not only fun and rewarding, but are proven paths to successful careers and a bright future for us all.” Founded by Dean Kamen in 1990, the organization has brought millions of students into the realm of robotics over the past two decades.

Amongst the programs they run include:

  • FIRST Junior Lego League: Grades K - 3 (ages 6 – 9)
  • FIRST Lego League: Grades 4 - 8 (ages 9 – 14)
  • FIRST Tech Challenge: Grades 9 – 12 (ages 14 – 18)
  • FIRST Robotics Competition: Grades 9 – 12 (ages 14 – 18)

Part of the unique atmosphere and environment of the FIRST Robotics Tournament is created in part due to the special values FIRST instructs their teams to uphold. These values help ensure a helpful and positive environment that encourages teamwork and respect within FIRST Robotics Competition teams. For more information about these values, please visit this page here.

Gracious Professionalism

FIRST states that “Gracious professionalism… is the way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community”. Gracious professionalism is one of the core values of the Team 3501 environment.


Coopertition is, according to the FIRST website, “displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition”. Here at team 3501, we strive to display coopertition to fellow robotics teams.

For more information about FIRST, please visit www.firstinspires.org.

What is the FIRST Robotics Competition?

FIRST organized in 1992, the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is an annual competition in which high school teams of 25 students or more compete to build/program robots that perform set tasks against other opponents. Teams have less than 6 weeks to build a robot that not only meets stated requirements, but performs effectively against robots built by other high schools. FRC Teams are not only expected to build excellent robots, but also to raise their own funds and help introduce their local community and fellow students to the world of robotics as well. Through participation in the First Robotics Competition, students enhance their critical-thinking and teamwork skills and apply mathematics and engineering skills they learned in school to real-world situations.

For more information about the FIRST Robotics Competition, please visit www.firstinspires.org/roboticsprograms/frc.

What is the FIRST Lego League?

FIRST Lego League (FLL) was created in 1998 by FIRST founder Dean Kamen and Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen. FIRST Lego League inspires teams to research, build, and experiment, and by doing so, they live the entire process of creating ideas, solving problems, and overcoming obstacles, while gaining confidence in their abilities to positively use technology. FLL teams research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology, then compete on a table-top playing field.

For more information about the FIRST Lego League, please visit www.firstlegoleague.org/.