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FIRST® Robotics – Developing Skills and Learning From Home

FIRST® is a not-for-profit public charity designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

The charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.FIRST® inspires the next generation to become leaders and innovators and enhance their work-life skills.The exciting mentor-based programs foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.FIRST® programs are proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, but they also inspire students to become leaders and innovators in any industry.

FIRST®  Robotics Competition

One of the programs run by FIRST® is the FIRST® Robotics Competition.

Combining the excitement of sport with science and technology. The FIRST® Robotics Competition is the ultimate Sport for the Mind. 

Teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team brand, hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a field game against like-minded competitors.

It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST® Championship.

To create their robots, teams can request a variety of resources from the network of FIRST® sponsors.

SOLIDWORKS are a sponsor of the program, providing access to SOLIDWORKS products, tutorials and a Kit of Parts, which they can use to create quick assemblies and models of their robots.

DriveWorks Sponsoring FIRST® Teams

With their SOLIDWORKS® licenses, FIRST® Robotics Competition teams already have access to DriveWorksXpress, included free inside every seat of SOLIDWORKS.

We were proud to become a FIRST® Robotics Supplier Sponsor in 2019. As part of this sponsorship, FIRST® Robotics Competition Teams can now also request a free 12-month license of DriveWorks Solo.

By learning and using DriveWorks Solo, teams will learn how to automate their repetitive SOLIDWORKS tasks and free up students and mentors to focus on quality robot design.

Problem Solving & Innovating

After a successful launch to the season in 2019, in the Spring of 2020 FIRST® made the decision to cancel the FIRST® Robotics Competition season in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Many teams did not bring their visions and robots to completion, nor did they have a chance to compete and network with their mentors, peers, and friends.

As an organisation that teaches young people how to solve problems and innovate, FIRST® responded to the pandemic in a way they would want students to.

While the on-site competitions were cancelled, the mission of FIRST® is still clear – “…to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders” and that’s what they have worked hard to continue in this adjusted environment.

Remote Events

For regions that continue to be disrupted by COVID-19 FIRST® are offering remote event options.

FIRST® is developing the FIRST® Remote Event Hub to provide a comprehensive remote experience for teams and volunteers, offering:

  • Remote robot performance and match scoring
  • Award submission, evaluation, and feedback
  • Video conferencing scheduling for remote judging

A Place to Learn & Connect

In May of 2020, FIRST @ Home was launched as a way to offer free, creative activities for their community to engage in online learning and skills building.

To help keep young people engaged during this time,  FIRST® created this as a shared space to learn about opportunities for online learning/skills development, FIRST® supported activities, and provide a place to stay connected to the FIRST® community during this global pandemic.

A selection of remote learning resources, as well as free and flexible PreK-12 STEM Activities that include a 12-session curriculum, have been created to develop and support STEM skills.

Staying Connected

FIRST®  have created many opportunities for both students and parents to stay engaged – whether it’s having ‘Fun with STEM’ on the FIRST® Pinterest page, or attending events such as live Instagram sessions and webinars, it’s clear that FIRST® is stepping up their community engagement to support learning, sharing and networking from home.

FIRST® hosts a Community Blog as well as an initiative called #IRL In Real Life.

Both platforms allow FIRST® teams to share stories of how they have adjusted their team learning and environment during this time. Teams are sharing their own innovations and discoveries with others to stay connected and engaged virtually.

Preparing Young People for the Future 

FIRST® is committed to continuing their efforts to provide students with the skills and confidence they need to change the world – today and tomorrow.

To help prepare young people for the future, FIRST® has created a global robotics community online, where students can continue to explore, learn and share. Here anyone can access the FIRST®Resource Library, the Inspire and Comunity Blogs, newslettersevents page and inspiring stories from the FIRST® community.

Stay up to date with all the latest information and opportunities on FIRST® @ Home here.

Automate & Go Further

Request a one year license of DriveWorks Solo Design Automation Software for your FIRST® Robotics Competition Team.

Use DriveWorks Solo to automate your repetitive SOLIDWORKS tasks and free up your team to focus on quality robot design.

Request a License