FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is designed for students in grades 7-12 to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot is built by the team to meet specific challenges and is programmed with the team’s choice from a variety of programming languages. Awards are given for the competition as well as for design and community outreach.
Students get to:
- Design, build, and program robots
- Apply real-world math and science to a challenge and learn engineering concepts
- Develop problem-solving, organizational, presentation, and team-building skills
- Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments
- Qualify for over $13.5 million in college scholarships
Ages: FTC is designed for students in grades 7-12
Cost: The FTC participation fee is $100, with a discount of $25 for participants who register before August 31.
A separate volunteer commitment payment is mandatory as well as your registration fee. For FTC, 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: Late August – January
Registration: FTC participants are strongly encouraged to complete their registration by September 1 since practice starts in late August and the challenge for the season is typically announced in late August.
Practices: Teams normally meet 2-3 times a week for a 2-3 hours at a time during the season. FTC teams stay active outside the season meeting 2-4 times per month to learn building and programming skills and to participate in community outreach and fundraising activities.
Team size: Teams are usually 5-8 students
Parent involvement: Teams are led by mentors typically who are parents of the participants. No skill in programming or engineering is required to be a mentor. Parents are strongly encouraged to be active with the team since FTC involves community outreach such as doing demonstrations at schools and the County Fair and fundraising activities which need parent assistance.
Competition: Teams will compete in one or two qualifying tournaments in November, December, or January in Minnesota. FTC teams may advance to further competitions based on performance.
More information and resources for FTC can be found on the FIRST website.