FIRST Is an organization that allows students to learn engineering skills through the various programs that are offered. In total there are 4 programs: at our school we offer all programs.
FIRST League JR which is from ages 4 to 10. The program meant to teach students at a young age about the importance of teamwork as well as the basics of stem through the various challenges that the team must solve. At our school we offer it to 3rd and 4th graders who are then taught by an FTC student or FRC student. The set up that each student mentor goes and teaches 6 3rd and 4th graders every week Tuesday after school from 3 to 4. The 3rd and 4th graders take it as a club after school in their classroom with a teacher to help supervise. As student mentors, we get to experience what it's like being a mentor and learn how to be leaders to other students.
The second program of FIRST that we offer at our school is FIRST lego league(FLL). The program is offered to 5th and 6th graders through a class called Lego robotics and that is to tough by highschool robotics seniors as an elective course . The program is similar to FIRST Lego League JR , but with a more depth challenge and different robots. In FLL students are exposed to EV3 programming. The challenge is given in September.
The third of the FIRST programs is FIRST Tech Challenge(FTC). The program is offered from grades 7th -12th. Once a FLL student at out school moves on to 7th grade. They can directly go into FTC or they did take FLL in 6th grade they can then ask to join the FTC class that is offered as an elective, or join the after school club that is offered. FTC Students are given the challenge in September and have a set of materials that they can buy from retailers, or use common parts that are allowed by the game manual. rs and as well as keep track of how much money the team is earning.
The last of the FIRST programs is FIRST Robotics Competition. The program is offered to all high school students as an after school program and is similar to FTC just on a bigger scale. The main difference between the two programs is that FRC has a lot more cost associated with it and there is a need for more sponsors. Also in FRC the robots are much bigger and the team is given less time to build the robot. Students interested must seek out and veteran team member and have that veteran team be their buddy and guide through the new member through the ropes for the first year or so.
When I think about the FIRST programs at our school I think of the progression. Having the full progression of programs of FIRST is a good thing because it allows students to be engaged in their future at a young age. It's not just a one time thing. Students get to spend 3rd to 12th grades to learn about their passion IN stem. There is much for students to learn from being on a FIRST team. Schools should look at getting a passion for FIRST programs as they help students and learn their passion at a young age. The way that schools can implement this program is by having these programs available to students and allow them to start at a young age and then continue all the way through. The high school they could partner with local elementary schools or vice versa.