FIRST® Robotics/LEGO®

FIRST: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology

Did you know that the MIT Alumni Association has designated FIRST Robotics one of its K-12 educational initiatives?

"The MIT Alumni Association is in a unique position to further the shared mission, vision and values of FIRST," said Judith M. Cole, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the MIT Alumni Association. "This synergistic relationship with FIRST and its dedication to attracting and inspiring students with an interest in science and technology clearly puts the intellectual energy of the MIT community to work where it is needed the most--igniting the minds of young people." -- MIT press release, Dec 14, 2009

For students aged 6-18, FIRST is the hardest fun you'll ever have. For team mentors, coaches, and volunteers, it's the most rewarding adventure you'll ever undertake. For sponsors, it's the most enlightened investment you could ever make. FIRST is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology, and math. Founded over 20 years ago by Segway inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST annually attracts more than 210,000 youth and more than 90,000 mentors, coaches, and volunteers from 56 countries. Each year, the programs culminate in an international robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path.

FIRST Family of Programs:

Junior FLL is for Grades K-3 (ages 6-9):

  • Design and build a challenge-related model using LEGO® components.
  • Create a Show-Me poster and practice presentation skills.
  • Explore challenges facing today's scientists.
  • Discover real-world math and science.
  • Begin developing employment and life skills.
  • Choose to participate in events and celebrations.
  • Engage in team activities guided by FLL Core Values.
First Lego League is for Grades 4-8 (ages 9-14):
  • Strategize, design, build, program, and test a robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology.
  • Create innovative solutions for challenges facing today's scientists as part of their research project.
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts.
  • Develop employment and life skills including critical thinking, time management, collaboration, and communication while becoming more self confident.
  • Become involved in their local and global community.
  • Choose to participate in official tournaments and local events.
  • Qualify for an invitation to World Festival.
  • Engage in team activities guided by FLL Core Values.
First Tech Challenge is for Grades 9-12 (ages 14-18):
  • Design, build, and program robots.
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts.
  • Develop problem-solving, organizational, and team-building skills.
  • Compete and cooperate in alliances at tournaments.
  • Earn a place in the World Championship.
  • Qualify for more than $7 million in college scholarships.

 Contact Teri Centner by email at or phone at (202) 495-0754 to find out how you can become a coach, mentor, sponsor, or other volunteer for one (or all!) of these programs!


MIT Club Organizes Briefing on FIRST and LEGO Robotics

As part of its K-12 initiative to promote STEM studies in the Washington DC area, the MIT Club of Washington organized a briefing on Sunday September 16, 2012 on the several opportunities in the FIRST Robotics program. The purpose of the briefing to alumni and others was to present opportunities for students to participate and for adults to volunteer as coaches and mentors in existing teams. Over 60 people attended, including parents, students, teachers, coaches, and mentors.

A briefing on the goals, structure, and procedures was presented by the FIRST Regional Director. Then student representatives from local teams enthusiastically described their experiences at each level - the large robots of FIRST (ages 14 - 18), the FIRST LEGO League (ages 9 - 14), and Junior LEGO League (ages 6 - 9). Each team demonstrated robots they had constructed. Strong interest was evidenced by the many continued discussions among all participants. 

In November 2014, the Club organized a second briefing on student opportunities to create robots with organizations such as FIRST Robotics and associated LEGO League. The response was so great that the room literally overflowed with families as the Regional Directors of the various FIRST organizations described the programs and the opportunities available in the Washington DC area.