The varsity Sport for the Mind™”, FRC (FIRST® Robotics Competition) combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get.
Students get to:
- Build and compete with a robot of their own design
- Learn and use sophisticated software and hardware
- Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments
- Learn from professional engineers, programmers, and precision machining/fabrication specialist
- Qualify for over $20 million in college scholarships
Ages: FRC is for students in grades 9-12
(7th and 8th grade students with past robotics experience on occasion have been allowed to join)
Cost: FRC participation fee is $200, with a discount of $50 for participants who register before December 15.
A separate volunteer commitment payment is mandatory as well as your registration fee. For FRC, this is an additional $100 (equates to 4 hours volunteer time). After you’ve completed your volunteer commitment, this payment will be refunded/check voided.
Season: January – April
Registration: FRC participants are welcome to join the team at any time before or during the FRC build season
Practices: FRC teams typically meet 1-2 times a week during the fall to work on fundraising and skill development for building, design, and programming skills. Practices increase to 2-6 nights a week during the 6 week build season in January and February. During the build season the number of meetings will depend on the role the student has on the team and their availability.
Team size: Typically 10-15 students
Parent involvement: Teams are led by mentors who include parents and community members with typically who provide guidance as professional engineers, programmers, and precision machining/fabrication specialists.
Parents are strongly encouraged to be active with the team to help with travel to tournaments, help students with community outreach such as doing demonstrations at schools and the County Fair, and help students with fundraising activities which include events and contacting businesses for sponsorship.
Challenge: Based around a themed challenge that will change each year where teams compete head to head, using a sports model with strict rules, including resource and time limits. The challenge each year is released in early January and teams then have 6 weeks to build their robot until they have to bag it up and not touch it until their tournament.
Competition: The team will compete in one or two Regional Qualifying tournaments in March and April. The team may advance to further competitions based on performance.
More information on FRC and resources for it can be found on the FIRST website.