Friday, January 13, 2017

FIRST Robotics (First Tech Challenge) -- and why I like it for my children!

How do you feel about robots?  :)  Do you have jr. highers and highschoolers who are interested in engineering and computers?

A few years back my kids and some friends of theirs formed a FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team.  This is their third year in this competition.  Basically they build a robot to complete a challenge and then compete with and against other teams.  They "win" by winning the challenges the most times, but there are also other awards for things like enginering notebook, special designs, control/use of sensors, and more.  

Here's this year's challenge:  Velocity Vortex

The core value that is HIGHLY encouraged and given center stage is GRACIOUS PROFESSIONALISM.  In our three years of competition we have seen this concept illustrated over and over again.  It is what makes FIRST an organization that I glady encourage my kids' participation with.   We have been helped by other teams, and we have helped other teams as well.  So many times when our team's robot has failed on the field we have had youth from multiple different teams approach our team and offer to help them rectify it.  These teenagers (who are, yes, very competitive!) independently offer to help other teams succeed.  There's no meanness, no snobbishness (even from the teams who are definitely "elite" teams), and a great spirit of helpfulness.  
My children are involved in several other national type organizations/competitions, and BY FAR the FIRST organization really, truly exemplifies this concept of gracious professionalism.  As a parent this is what I want my children to learn and do.  

Here's my kids' team's robot for this year (so far!  I'm sure there will be many more changes before our competition this February!)

If you want more information about FIRST, check them out here!  :)

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