FIRST is not just FRC. FIRST is a series of programs that offer an exciting, educational, inspirational experience for our kids from grade school through high school. Even if you don’t know FRC from FTC, from FLL, it’s all explained here.
JrFLL – Junior FIRST Lego Leagueis a program for kids ages 6 to 9 that lets kids use their natural curiosity to explore science and technology. It uses Lego™ bricks to build moving models. This program instills at an early age team building concepts, problem solving skills and cooperative ethics in a fun and exciting way. Learn more about Junior FLL here.
FLL – FIRST Lego League. After JrFLL, kids step up to the big league with FLL. We have three Lego League teams in the Lockport School District and many of our high school students are graduates of this program. FLL is for middle-school students, 9-14 years old, and continues with the use of Lego™ Mindstorms products to build working robots to solve thier challenge. At this level, real programming as well as use of math and science skills is key. These kids are serious and put some real energy and creative thinking into their game. Learn more about FLL here and here.
FTC – FIRST TECH Challenge is the newest FIRST program. It is a grade 7-12 level program based around theTETRIX® robotics platform which lets them build advanced robots using reusable kit components. The programming is more versatile, uses real world programming languages, and gets more complex as does the challenge. This program is ideal for schools that can’t support a FRC team, don’t have enough students for FRC or as a supplement to a FRC team. It also begins with grade 7 students, so it’s a natural bridge between FLL and FRC. The program continues emphasizing teamwork skills and cooperative sportsmanship while encouraging science and technology. You can read more about FTC here.
FRC – FIRST Robotics Competition.This is the top level of FIRST programs and the one that the Warlocks participate in. Designed for High School students, it revolves around full-sized robots in the 120 pound range. They use indusrial controls and are programmed in industry-standard programming languages that challenge the mentors as much as the students! But it’s not about the robot. FRC lets students experience real-life situations like they will encounter later in college and career: working with engineers and professional people, under budget and time constraints, and with no clear directions, only your wits to solve complex programs while working in a team environment. It’s known as “The Hardest Fun Ever.” The official FIRST web site explains much more as well as this web site.
All the FIRST programs are international in scope and have regional competitions in many areas. Championship competitions are held for the best to attend and are a highlight that both challenges and rewards the participants.